Taking Antibiotics: Tetracyclines

Tetracycline (te-tra-SYE-cleen) antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in many parts of the body. These antibiotics are also used to help clear up acne. They do not work for colds, flu, and other viruses.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects can occur. Call your doctor or pharmacist if the following side effects bother you or don’t go away:

Call Your Doctor Right Away

  • Severe diarrhea

  • Itching around the rectum or vagina

  • Soreness in the mouth

  • Skin rash or itching

Before You Take This Medicine

For your safety, tell your doctor or pharmacist if:

  • You are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

  • You have other health problems, or you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant.

  • You have had an allergic reaction to any medicine or food.

Tips for Taking Your Medicine

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed. If you ever have any questions, call your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Don’t stop taking your medicine, even if you feel better. If you don’t take it all, your symptoms may return and be harder to treat.

  • Take your medicine with a full glass of water. Take it at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating food, using antacids, or drinking milk.

  • If you take 2 or more doses a day, do so at evenly spaced times, day and night.

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember—unless it is almost time for your next dose. If so, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose.

  • Do not share your medicine with anyone.

  • Before you have any kind of surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking a tetracycline.

  • If you become pregnant, stop taking the tetracycline and call your doctor.

For Your Safety

  • For at least 2 hours before taking tetracycline, do not drink milk, eat dairy foods or other foods high in calcium, or take iron or calcium supplements.

  • Do not use a sunlamp. Protect your skin while in the sun.

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medicines.

  • Do not share your medicine with anyone.

  • Before you have any kind of surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking a tetracycline.

  • If you become pregnant, stop taking the tetracycline and call your doctor.

Last Annual Review Date: 2008-01-01T00:00:00-07:00 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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Americans spend more than $100 million a year on nonprescription acne treatments--and that figure doesn't even include money spent on special soaps and cleansers.