To fight these will increase, doxycycline, an antibiotic marketed as DoxyPEP, is now being prescribed as a “morning-after capsule” of types that you should use to forestall bacterial STIs after having unprotected intercourse. However do not throw out your condoms simply but. Learn on to search out out who this capsule may help, and the way it works.
What’s DoxyPEP (doxycycline)?
Doxycycline has been across the block a couple of occasions, and has confirmed itself efficient. It has been used as an antibiotic and illness preventative because the Sixties, and is highly effective sufficient to forestall life-threatening illnesses like malaria and anthrax.
Healthcare suppliers already use DoxyPEP to deal with chlamydia, and typically syphilis and gonorrhea. A examine printed within the New England Journal of Drugs earlier this yr confirmed that it additionally reduces transmission of bacterial infections—like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia—when used prophylactically (which means, for prevention functions earlier than signs come up). The CDC now plans to launch pointers for prophylactic use later this summer time.
With a view to be efficient when used this fashion, you should take two 200mg DoxyPEP tablets inside 72 hours after having condomless intercourse. Specialists say the earlier, the higher. You don’t must know your associate’s an infection standing to make use of it. You additionally don’t want to attend till you’ve had condomless intercourse to get a prescription.
Happily, because it’s an older drug, it is comparatively cheap and available. Even with out insurance coverage, DoxyPEP ought to run you round $22.
The caveats: DoxyPEP is not at all a 100-percent assure that you just gained’t contract your associate’s STI—although it could actually significantly diminish your danger. And like all antibiotics, DoxyPEP is ineffective towards viral illnesses, like HIV and monkeypox. It additionally gained’t forestall being pregnant, and isn’t a remedy for STIs.
Who Is DoxyPEP really helpful for?
In its present iteration as DoxyPEP, doxycycline is being primarily prescribed for males who’ve intercourse with males and transwomen who’ve intercourse with males. Nonetheless, nobody, together with ciswomen, is exempt from buying a prescription.
As of now, we solely have proof (from the 2023 examine) that doxycycline might be efficiently repurposed to forestall bacterial infections in males who’ve intercourse with males and in transwomen who’ve intercourse with males. A few of this examine’s members had been residing with an HIV an infection; others had been taking preventative medicines towards HIV. Each participant had already been recognized with an STI throughout the previous yr. Doxycycline produced an general 65 % discount in new STI infections in these populations.
Research have additionally been executed on cisgender ladies, primarily in Kenya. These research have produced much less promising outcomes, however the explanation why aren’t clear.
“For individuals with vaginas, we do not have sufficient proof to verify that this remedy is efficient for stopping STIs. The perfect research exhibiting the efficacy of this therapy have checked out DoxyPEP in individuals who had been born with penises,” says licensed nurse practitioner Adrienne Ton, APRN-CNP, of TBD Well being, a sex-positive healthcare firm. Ton wish to see extra analysis on DoxyPEP for cisgender ladies who’ve receptive vaginal intercourse, however for now, she doesn’t at present suggest it to her cisgender ladies sufferers.
Methods to safely use DoxyPEP
DoxyPEP is supposed for one-time or occasional use after you’ve had condomless intercourse—not as a every day or near-daily preventative. Although doxycycline is pretty well-studied, its use as an STI preventive continues to be very new. It’s not recognized but how a lot is an excessive amount of, so specialists don’t suggest utilizing it too usually, or as a substitute of condoms.
“DoxyPEP is just one device amongst a complete technique of approaches for selling sexual well being and stopping illness, a method which could embrace issues like common STI testing, HIV PrEP, contraception, and condoms/dental dams,” says Ton. In the event you routinely get examined for STIs, don’t cease testing since you’ve used DoxyPEP.
Many medical professionals—together with Ton—are involved that overuse of DoxyPEP could improve the chance of antibiotic resistance and vulnerability to “superbugs.” (Sure strains of gonorrhea are already antibiotic-resistant.)
Unwanted effects are additionally doable. The most typical ones are headache, stomachache, and nausea. And doxycycline is within the tetracycline class of antibiotics, which can make you extra delicate to sunburns than you normally are.
It’s additionally value noting that dairy merchandise and calcium dietary supplements could scale back DoxyPep’s effectiveness. You’ll need to go over the opposite prescriptions and dietary supplements you at present take together with your physician.
The place to get DoxyPEP
Many medical doctors are already prescribing DoxyPEP for his or her high-risk sufferers, and a few insurance coverage firms are protecting the remedy.
In the event you favor, you can even get a prescription for DoxyPEP via Wisp, a sexual-health-focused telehealth firm, which presents dwelling supply or pickup at your native pharmacy.
“Anybody of any gender or intercourse can obtain a prescription for DoxyPEP via Wisp,” says Suneer Chander, MD, Wisp’s medical director. “Doxycycline is taken into account low-risk, which is why Wisp is assured in prescribing DoxyPEP to all of our sufferers,” he provides.
Something that makes intercourse safer and extra joyful is an excellent factor. It is value celebrating that DoxyPEP can provide yet another device that will help you take pleasure in your love life with out compromising your well being.