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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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I took a dose of the antibiotic doxycycline last night before

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I took a dose of the antibiotic doxycycline last night before bed. About 2 hours later I woke up with awful pain and spasms in my esophagus. It still feels like the pill is stuck in my lower esophagus and it's been about 18 hours since this started. I've tried lots of water, bread& butter, etc. but it doesn't seem to budge. Will it eventually dissolve and will the irritation heal, or do I need to go to the ER to get it removed?



Thank you for writing in today. Doxycycline can be very irritating to the esophagus. It can actually cause esophagitis, which is essentially irritation of the esophagus. The pain you are feeling may actually be due to the irritating effects of the medication, rather than the pill. These pills can cause an ulcer like irritation. The inflammation can cause a pill like feeling. Given your intake, it is unlikely that the pill would not have dissolved by now; however, given certain circumstances, particularly anatomical issues or conditions like hiatal hernia, it is possible, although less likely, that the pill is still there. At any rate, in order to get some relief, you may need a medication to reduce or neutralize stomach acid, such as Pepcid and TUMS, since stomach acid can further irritate and increase pain. Also, you may benefit from a medication to coat the esophagus. If you are too terribly uncomfortable, you could try calling your provider's office and talking with the on call provider. If no one is available, you could consider urgent care. However, if too uncomfortable, you could consider an ER visit. At this point, it's a bit of a judgment call. When in doubt, have it evaluated. I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or need clarification, please let me know. Lisa

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