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*Frequently Asked Questions* for Tetracycine users

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#1 MasterXaero

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 12:40 AM

Frequently Asked Questions – Tetracyclines

Disclaimer: The information below is provided as a courtesy to address general questions. As we are not medical professionals, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of this information. By reading this information, you agree not to hold us liable for any damages that may result in your use of this information. This information should not replace information that your Doctor or Plastic Surgeon provides you. Please keep in mind that this is for general information only and results will vary for each individual. Always take your medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

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Tetracyclines are common antibiotics prescribed to help kill acne-causing bacteria in a patient’s body. There are three different kinds of tetracycline in terms of acne: Minocycline, Doxycycline, and Tetracycline. Side effects and other information regarding the three tetracyclines are generally the same; for this reason, grouping all three into one convenient FAQ is appropriate.

For the purposes of this FAQ, assume that Minocycline is the less potent of the three, Doxycyline is next in line, and Tetracycline is the most potent. So, in terms of strength:

Tetracyclines:
Minocycline -> Doxycyline -> Tetracycline


Also, note that the stronger the tetracycline, the greater the type, severity, and risk of side effects.

In this FAQ, lowercase “tetracycline(s)� refers to any of the above three drugs. Capital “Tetracycline� refers to the specific drug at the end of the above spectrum.


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What else are tetracyclines prescribed as?
- Minocycline is often sold as Minocin, Dynacin, Ventrin , Minocin Oral, and generic Minocycline.
- Doxycycline is often sold as Doryx, Doxy Caps, Doxychel Hyclate, Monodox, Periostat, Vibra-Tabs, and Vibramycin
- Tetracycline is often sold as Achromycin V, Panmycin, Robitet Robicaps, Sumycin, Tetracap, and Topicycline
- There is generally no difference each drug brand, except, as some may argue, for “filler ingredients� which affect how the tetracycline is absorbed. Your doctor will prescribe what he or she feels is the most effective brand of the drug.

How do tetracyclines work?
- Tetracyclines are antibiotics absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive system. They have two acne fighting components. They kill acne-causing bacteria, but they also contain anti-inflammatory agents. This means that tetracyclines CAN help acne, even if they fail to kill the underlying bacteria. In fact, the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology says that Minocycline “is safer than ibuprofen,� which is also an anti-inflammatory.

What is the normal dosage for the drug?
- Depending on your age, weight, the severity of your acne problem, and the professional advice of your doctor, tetracyclines may be prescribed to be taken once a day to up to four times a day in dosages ranging from 50mg to 500mg each.
- Generally, the dosage depends on the strength of the drug. Some doctors increase the dosage as their patients progress through the standard Minocycline > Doxycyline > Tetracycline drug process.

How should I take a tetracycline?
- Tetracyclines come in capsules/tablets (and occasionally syrups) and are to be taken orally. Unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you otherwise, take tetracyclines on an empty stomach. However, if this results in an upset stomach, ask your doctor if it is ok to take it with milk or with food.
- Always take them with a full glass of water.
- Do not lie down until thirty minutes to an hour has elapsed after taking a tetracycline, as doing so may prevent proper absorption.

What else will my doctor prescribe while on a tetracycline?
- It is commonplace for a doctor or dermatologist to also prescribe a topical cream or gel to combat existing acne on the surface, thus maximizing results. Your doctor may also put you on a vitamin supplement that will promote proper skin complexion and overall skin health without conflicting with the tetracycline.
- Your doctor may also take a culture sample of the liquid, or pus, with in a pimple to make sure that your acne is not caused by a parasite-like microorganism within your body

Can tetracyclines come into conflict with other medications if taken at the same time?
- Yes. Tetracyclines may decrease the effectiveness of another antibiotic if taken simultaneously. Inform your doctor if you are currently doing so. This drug may also complicate the effectiveness of some antacids, anticoagulants, penicillin, and oral contraceptives.
- It is also suggested that patients avoid taking tetracyclines within one to three hours of taking antacids, calcium supplements, and laxatives containing magnesium. This is because these drugs may prevent the proper absorption of tetracyclines from the digestive system into the blood stream.

What can I expect within the first few weeks of taking a tetracycline?
- Within the first few weeks, your body may experience a breakout. This is normal and to be expected; it is your body’s way of getting used to the tetracycline. Think of it as the tetracycline “pushing� all the dormant acne to the surface – if the particular drug is right for you, clear skin may follow.
- When starting out, headache or dizziness may occur, but these should subside once your body gets used to the antibiotic.

So how long before I start seeing results?
- It depends on the severity of your acne, however, most patients see improvement in about four to six weeks after starting a tetracycline regimen. For some, it may be longer, or never happen at all, in which case you should contact your doctor.

What are the symptoms of a tetracycline overdose? What should I do incase of such an overdose?
- Overdosing on a tetracycline can result in complications, including but not limited to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even the overall ineffectiveness of the medication in the long term.
- For these reasons, the importance of taking the antibiotic exactly as prescribed is paramount.
- If you suspect an overdose, seek immediate medical attention from your doctor, a hospital, or your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Remember that an overdose may not necessarily yield the aforementioned side effects, but could still be hazardous to your health.

Is it ok to take tetracyclines at different times of the day?
- A tetracycline work best when a consistent amount of the drug is in your body. For this reason, take your drug at regular intervals, as suggested below:

- If prescribed once a day: take once every 24 hours.
- If prescribed twice a day: take once every 12 hours.
- If prescribed three times a day: take once every 8 hours.
- If prescribed four times a day, take once every 6 hours.


And so on. Regardless of what you read online or elsewhere, always take your medicine as directed by your doctor.

Is it ok for my children to take tetracyclines?
- Unless your doctor believes otherwise, generally the answer is no. Tetracyclines may cause permanent yellow discoloration of the teeth and possibly even growth defects in patients eight years or younger.

What lifestyle changes should I make while taking tetracyclines?
- Tanning is not a good idea. The higher your dosage, the more susceptible to the sun’s harmful UV rays your skin becomes. Thus, you will burn easier and quicker. For this reason, you should always wear sun screen and protective clothing to avoid damaging your skin and actually making your acne worse.
- Limit alcoholic beverages as much as possible, as your liver and kidneys may be weakened by the medicine.
- Tell your dentist or surgeon if you are on a tetracycline before getting surgery, since your body is more sensitive to punctures and damage while on the medicine.
- Take caution when operating machinery, as tetracyclines can make you dizzy.
- Since tetracyclines weaken your immune system, it's probably a good idea to avoid smoking cigarettes and getting high as much as possible. Doing so won't make your skin worse, but it could make the post-antibiotic recovery process longer.

My skin is breaking out, and I have some leftover tetracycline. Even though it is expired, can I still take it to suppress my current breakout?
- No. Taking expired tetracyclines can result in a severe kidney condition, so promptly discard it.

I’m afraid I might be allergic to tetracyclines. What side effects should I watch for?
- About 1% of the population is allergic to tetracyclines. If you suspect you may be among this percentage, discontinue taking the antibiotic until you can consult with your doctor.
- Those allergic to tetracyclines may experience a breakout in hives two or three weeks after beginning the treatment. Other side effects related to an allergic reaction may include a sick feeling, swelling of the lips, face, or tongue, difficulty breathing, rash, skin lesions/sores, itching, severe dizziness, new or worsening swelling/pain in the joints, chest pain, and a fast/irregular heartbeat.

Is getting pregnant ok while on a tetracycline?
- Absolutely not. Tetracyclines can harm a fetus in the womb or possibly a breastfed baby, resulting in improper bone and tooth development. If you become pregnant, immediately stop taking the tetracycline and consult your doctor.
- Also, tetracyclines may reduce the effectiveness of certain forms of birth control, such as the pill or patch. For this reason, always use a second form of birth control.

What are some other possible side effects of tetracyclines?
- As with any drug, there are often a wide variety of possible side effects. Some that are not necessarily cause for deep concern include: itching of the rectum or vagina, diarrhea, furry darkening or black discoloration of the tongue, vision changes. discolored eyes, genital sores or itches, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, vaginal yeast infection, confusion, and dizziness.
- If any of these become intolerable, consult your doctor.
-Additionally, your doctor should be informed if you have any of the following side effects: skin rash, unusual bleeding or bruising, pain or discomfort in the mouth, throat sores, fever, chills, nail discoloration, muscle pain, difficult or painful swallowing, change in amount or color (typically a dark color) of urine, brown/gray tooth discoloration, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, unusual fatigue, persistent or severe headache, vision changes, easy bruising/bleeding, severe stomach/abdominal pain, and yellowing eyes/skin.
- Some of these side effects may be caused by an allergy to sulfites, so it might be a good idea to tell your doctor if you are, in fact, allergic to them.
- Tetracyclines may also cause a rare, but severe intestinal condition known as pseudomembranous colitis. This may even occur weeks after stopping the tetracycline regimen. Persistent diarrhea and/or abdominal or stomach pain/cramping may be signs of this condition, so contacting your doctor immediately if you experience either is imperative.

Are there any permanent side effects associated with tetracyclines?
-Yes. 1 in every 10,000 Minocycline users will develop hypersensitivity-lupus, characterized by severe joint pains. This form of lupus is unique to Minocycline users, and may appear up to three years AFTER the last dose of Minocycline is taken.
- 1 in every 10,000 tetracycline users may also experience psychological problems, or even “pseudotumor cerebri,� which is an accumulation of fluid around the brain, causing progressively worsening headaches and vision problems.
- While the odds that the average tetracycline user will get these side effects are low, it should be noted that they DO exist, and that these risks should be assessed by you and your doctor.

What are the risks of being on a tetracycline for over a year or more?
- An accumulation of tetracyclines in the body may cause one’s skin to develop a purplish tint. They look like bruises, and can take up to a year to fade away. Routine doctor visits and Vitamin C 500mg twice daily can reduce this risk.
- The longer you are on an antibiotic, the less effective it becomes. This is because the acne-causing bacteria becomes immune to the antibiotic by mutating into “super bacteria,� making your acne worse and possibly untreatable. Further, if you get another kind of infection while on a tetracycline (for example, pneumonia), antibiotics may not be an effective treatment option. This is a serious cause for concern. Antibiotics can also cause Candida, a condition where white patches form on one’s tongue. This is because the acne antibiotic also kills beneficial bacteria found on the tongue that fights off a naturally-occurring yeast infection. Other side effects still exist, but tetracycline users should always work with their doctors to find alternatives to antibiotic use.

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"Doxycycline." RxList Monographs. 08 December 2004. RxList. 03 August 2005. <http://www.rxlist.co...doxycyc_ids.htm>.

"Minocycline." Dermatologic Disease Database. 2004. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. 06 July 2005. <http://www.aocd.org/......ycline.html>.

"Minocycline." Drugs.com 2005 version. 14 February 2003. Micromedex Physicians Desk Reference. 06 July 2005. <http://www.nlm.nih.g...er/a682101.html>.

"Minocycline." RxList Monographs. 08 December 2004. RxList. 06 July 2005.
<http://www.rxlist.co...minocycline.htm>.

"Minocycline Oral." MedlinePlus Drug Information. 01 April 2003. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. 06 July 2005. <http://www.drugs.com/minocycline.html>.

"Questions and Answers for Consumers on Doxycycline." Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 02 November 2001. FDA. 03 August 2005. <http://www.fda.gov/c...oxy/QA_doxy.htm>.

"Tetracycline." Drugs.com 2005 version. 01 April 2003. Micromedex Physicians Desk Reference. 03 August 2005.
<http://www.nlm.nih.g...er/a682098.html>.

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I myself have taken Minocycline, Doxycycline, and Tetracycline for my skin at different times (I have since been off all medications). At one point I was taking 500mg Tetracycline twice a day – that’s an entire gram of antibiotics daily. I did this research to inform myself and others about what these drugs do, and what the risks are. I want to keep this guide accurate, up to date, and helpful, so if you have any questions, comments, or corrections, please message me and I will edit this post. Thank you and good luck.


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Change/Edit Log:
08-05-05: Added advice regarding smoking while on tetracyclines.
08-12-05: Added a question addressing how long it takes for a tetracycline regimen to yield results.


#2 Zee

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 10:23 AM

This FAQ is awesome and should be a sticky. Good work!

#3 Rossignol

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 02:49 PM

I've pinned this thread, as I think the information here is excellent. eusa_clap.gif

Thanks for providing this, MasterXaero!

#4 lifetap

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 12:04 PM

ive been on minocin for 12 weeks and havnt noticed much of and inprovement. I was wonderin if smokeing weed has any negative side effects on the treatment? I was thinking about taking accutane would smokeing have a negative side effect on this?

#5 MasterXaero

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE(lifetap @ Aug 5 2005, 01:04 PM)
I was wonderin if smokeing weed has any negative side effects on the treatment? I was thinking about taking accutane would smokeing have a negative side effect on this?

View Post



Technically, no, but since minocycline makes your immune system weaker, it's probably not that good of an idea. However, it may make your recovery longer once you get off antibiotics.

This is a good question. I'll add it to the faq.

#6 lifetap

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 01:59 PM

QUOTE(MasterXaero @ Aug 5 2005, 11:29 PM)
QUOTE(lifetap @ Aug 5 2005, 01:04 PM)
I was wonderin if smokeing weed has any negative side effects on the treatment? I was thinking about taking accutane would smokeing have a negative side effect on this?

View Post



Technically, no, but since minocycline makes your immune system weaker, it's probably not that good of an idea. However, it may make your recovery longer once you get off antibiotics.

This is a good question. I'll add it to the faq.

View Post




#7 lifetap

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 03:59 PM

Could you please tell me how long before you should see any results. I have been on the mino for 3 mos and have noticed a slight improvement but definately not clear and still breaking out. I have also continued with the regimen and have started taking some b5. When is it time to say the mino is not working, should I continue??

#8 MasterXaero

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 08:39 PM

QUOTE(lifetap @ Aug 7 2005, 04:59 PM)
I have also continued with the regimen and have started taking some b5.

View Post



Do you mean the Clear Skin Regimen at acne.org? If so, then make sure you put moisturizor on after you apply BP, and also to wear sunscreen. It's very possible that the BP gel is drying out your skin so much, thus encouraging more breakouts. This wouldn't be too extraordinary because antibiotics make your skin unusually sensitive.

When I was on mino, I didn't really see too much of an improvement. I had mild-moderate acne. How bad is yours?

#9 lifetap

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 09:11 PM

I guess I have mild to moderate acne. I am only on two tabs 50 mg 2x a day which is a low dosage so maybe it is taking a long time. I could try to cut down on the bp and see if that helps. Thanks for your help.

#10 MasterXaero

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 09:51 PM

Actually I think that would have an adverse effect. Like I said, stay on the perscription you're on now, and use the clear skin regimen exactly as detailed on the site, just make sure you protect your skin with moisturizer, protective clothing, and sunscreen.

#11 Zaza

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 01:10 AM

Thankyou so much for posting this!

#12 sighzzz

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 02:20 AM

erm if a doctor prescribe mino to me for a month's dosage, is it a must to complete it even i don't feel like it? Cause my mum says it is always compulsory to finish a dosage of antibiotics even though they already have no effect.

#13 MasterXaero

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 05:04 PM

QUOTE(sighzzz @ Sep 14 2005, 03:20 AM)
erm if a doctor prescribe mino to me for a month's dosage, is it a must to complete it even i don't feel like it? Cause my mum says it is always compulsory to finish a dosage of antibiotics even though they already have no effect.

View Post



If its an actual illness, like a resperatory condition or something, then yes, you probably should finish taking the antibiotic because the drug is pretty much guarenteed to kill the bacteria and make you feel better.

It's not the case with acne antibiotics, however. Look around on these forums.. people are always complaining about how antibiotic-x never worked, and that they wasted their time. With acne antibiotics, you're on them for an extended period of time (sometimes indefinately eusa_naughty.gif), and they can actually make your condition worse. Being on them when they clearly don't help your skin is not only a waste of your time, but also of your money and your health (google "antibiotic resistance").

My advice would be to get off of them if you find they're not doing the trick. Get put on something else, or try to use other means of clearing your skin up (like the regimen, for example). You're only putting yourself in harm's way. Why take something that doesn't work?

#14 BeautyBabe

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 12:45 PM

I just wanted to say thankyou Masterxaero for making this post. The information has helped me alot. eusa_angel.gif

#15 BeautyBabe

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 09:47 AM

Does anyone know if Minocycline weakens the contraceptive pill?


PS- For all those people out there who think that picture is of me, it isn't!!!! It's from a comedy TV program!!!

#16 MasterXaero

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 11:51 PM

QUOTE(BeautyBabe @ Oct 14 2005, 11:47 AM) View Post
Does anyone know if Minocycline weakens the contraceptive pill?


Yes, it does. Pretty much all antibiotics absorb the hormones in your birth control pill, thus making pregnancy much more likely.

The best thing you can do in terms of pregnancy protection is to stop taking Minocycline (with your doctor's permission). Also, use a form of barrier protection such as a condom or cervical cap.

But if you do become pregnant, your baby should be fine. Neither the antibiotic nor the pill should have an effect on your unborn child.

#17 ben100604

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 05:35 AM

A few years back now, I was on Benzamycin and 100mg of doxycycline per day. Didn't do much for my acne really. Then the doctor doubled it to 200mg per day and my acne was completely gone in about a month. I've never heard of anyone clearing up so quickly, my skin was like new. After about a year my acne did seem to be coming back a bit, I think this may have been due to resistance, and eventually my acne came back anyway because they stopped making benzamycin in the UK for several months. But its proof that antibiotics can clear you up exceptionally, albeit temporarily. I havent had that much success with any other oral antibiotics

#18 FunkyMoe

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 12:37 PM

If you become immune to one of the tetracyclines, say minocycline, will doxycycline or tetracycline still be effective?

Also, are tetracyclines safer than a sulphur type antibiotic such as Bactrim?

#19 hjhkjhjkhkjhkjhhkhkjh

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:59 PM

how much does it cost?

#20 The_X

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 09:11 AM

I've got a question--I was first prescribed tetracycline by my dermatologist about 8-9 months ago. I did a first course of 2 250mg tablets a day for 30 days. This helped my acne hugely, but at the end of the course, it was still there. I talked to the dermatologist, and he said to just take another course for 60 days, 1 tablet a day. Once again, skin was much clearer, but not completely cleared up! Whenever I got off tetracycline for any period of time, the acne would return. I ended up taking yet another 60 day course, which I just completed. My skin is pretty good, but I'm already seeing the acne returning a bit. Would you guys recommend using tetracycline more? Or should I move on? And what are some possibilities for more permanent results?

BTW, my dermatologist-prescribed regimen also includes Brevoxyl-4 in the morning and Duac gel, plus tetracycline, at night.