Doxycycline For Bronchitis: Is It Effective?

In this article, we will take a close look at the use of doxycycline in treating bronchitis. We will understand the causes and symptoms of bronchitis and provide insights into its diagnosis and treatment. We will also guide you on when to seek medical help for bronchitis.
Jakub Gwiazdecki

Jakub Gwiazdecki

Fifth year medical student at the Medical Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava.

A blue image with text saying "Doxycycline For Bronchitis"

Can doxycycline be used to treat bronchitis?

Doxycycline can be used for bronchitis. However, it will be effective only in cases of bacterial infection. Doxycycline can be effective when your bronchitis is caused by a bacterium like Haemophilus influenzae or Streptococcus pneumoniae [1].

Viruses are not affected by antibiotics. Therefore, you should first be sure about the diagnosis. Unnecessary use of antibiotics can lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria and changes in the intestinal flora.

What are the causes of bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the bronchi. The most common type of bronchial inflammation is acute bronchitis.

There are many causative factors for bronchitis. However, most cases of acute bronchitis in adults are caused by viruses [2]. Bacterial acute infections of the bronchi are less common.

Chronic bronchitis is a long-term inflammation of the bronchi. This type of bronchitis is caused by long-term irritation of the breathing system. The common causative factors are active and passive cigarette smoking [3].

In addition to tobacco smoke, other irritants can also lead to the development of chronic bronchitis. These include air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust from the environment or workplace [3, 4, 5].

Also, the genetic alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can lead to chronic bronchitis [3].

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

Bronchitis can present with many symptoms. Among the main symptoms are:

  • dry-sounding but productive cough,
  • expulsion of thick, colored mucus,
  • fever,
  • congestion,
  • fatigue,
  • body aches [6], and wheezing [3].

In severe cases, patients can also experience:

  • problems breathing [6],
  • chest tightness [7],
  • weight loss [3],
  • weakness in lower muscles [3],
  • swelling in their ankles, feet, or legs [3].

In chronic bronchitis, patients can also experience frequent respiratory infections like the flu [3].

What are the diagnosis and treatment of bronchitis?

Bronchitis is primarily diagnosed based on clinical symptoms. The differentiation between acute and chronic bronchitis is based on the time the cough lasts.

Chronic bronchitis is considered when the productive cough lasts for over three months during two consecutive years with an accompanying airflow obstruction [8].

Acute bronchitis, on the other hand, can develop within just a few days [9].

For an exact diagnosis, the doctors can use:

  • physical exams,
  • medical history evaluations,
  • X-rays, or CT scans. To identify the obstruction in the airflow, spirometry can be used [10].

Treatment for bronchitis depends on the type of bronchitis and its severity. Chronic bronchitis treatment is focused on the relaxation of the bronchi and the mitigation of the immunological response to the irritant.

The therapy for chronic bronchitis includes:

  • sympathomimetic agents,
  • ipratropium bromide,
  • antibiotic for exacerbation,
  • lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, healthy diet, and respiratory muscle strengthening [8].

Acute bronchitis treatment has a different approach. It focuses on the symptoms and includes:

  • antitussives or protussives,
  • bronchiodilators in severe cases,
  • antibiotics in bacterial bronchitis [9, 11].

When to see a doctor with bronchitis?

Bronchitis, whether acute or chronic, can present with a variety of symptoms. However, there are specific symptoms that indicate you should seek medical attention.

The most important sign is a persistent cough. This cough can wake you up at night and can be productive or non-productive. When you have been coughing for more than a couple of days, you should see your doctor.

When your cough makes you wheeze or feel short of breath, you must see a doctor immediately.

Also, when you experience an accompanying fever, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. The increased temperature is an indication of an ongoing infection and should be promptly treated.

If you notice that the mucus you are coughing out has color, you should be concerned and look for a doctor. The color can be yellow, green, brown, or red. The redness indicates the presence of blood and is a very concerning sign.

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Jakub Gwiazdecki

Jakub Gwiazdecki

Jakub is in his fifth year as a medical student at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. He has special interested in cardiology and in patient-centered medicine. His love for heart health isn't just book-smarts; he wants to know how it works, what it means for our feelings, and how key it is for health and happiness. Jakub thinks real good health care comes from always putting the patient at the centre, treating each person as a whole.