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tetracycline advice

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i have just been put on tetracycline by my doc,what are the common side effects cos i have been feeling dizzyness and tiredness but normally this is while or after drinking alcohol,take it i should not be doing this,as well as that how good are results cos for a year i was on minocycline and i got no results,tho 3 years ago i was on mino and it worked wonders,and help will be appreciated,thanks.

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Tetracyclines are oral antibiotics often used to treat skin diseases. 

Tetracycline, or one of its derivatives (doxycycline and minocycline are the only tetracyclines available in New Zealand), are most often used for acne, rosacea or perioral dermatitis and are frequently effective . 

However tetracyclines only suppress these conditions, they do not cure them. Therefore these antibiotics need to be continued until the disease runs it course, often months or years. Longterm treatment with tetracycline is remarkably safe; there has been over 30 years experience with the medication. 


Patients differ in the amount of tetracycline they need. A full daily dose of tetracycline is generally prescribed for the first few weeks or months to see how well it controls the skin problem. This full dose should be continued for most patients with acne. However, those with rosacea may be able to reduce their dose at approximately monthly intervals. There's a lag period of one to three weeks between the change in dosage and its effect on skin. If the skin problem becomes worse, return to the previous higher dosage and continue on it. 


Tetracycline should be stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Outdated capsules or tablets should not be taken as they may cause kidney damage. 

Tetracycline must not be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding women, or by children under twelve years, because it discolours growing teeth. 

However, even when taken for months or years, tetracycline has few side effects. Allergy is uncommon; it results in various types of skin rash, and rarely, liver disease. Minocycline may occasionally cause severe headaches and has been reported to precipitate systemic lupus erythematosus. Minocycline is also very rarely associated with potentially fatal severe drug hypersensitivity syndrome, in which there is prolonged rash, fever, swollen lymph glands and internal organ failure (liver, lungs, heart, kidneys). 

Tetracycline should be taken with a glass of water on an empty stomach, half an hour before, or two hours after meals. This is because food prevents absorption of tetracycline into the bloodstream. Some people find this inconvenient, and others get indigestion unless it is taken with food. Minocycline and doxycycline are not affected by food and can be taken at mealtime. The water is very important to prevent ulceration of the oesophagus. 

Tetracycline may make the skin more sensitive to sunlight; this effect depends on the variety of tetracycline and the amount taken. It is most likely with doxycycline and least likely with minocycline. If unexpected sunburn does occur, take the medication in the evening and avoid excessive sun exposure. 

Because of fewer bacteria in the vagina, in women, tetracycline occasionally produces thrush, an overgroth of candida yeasts. This results in genital irritation and discharge. With appropriate treatment of the thrush, the antibiotics can usually be continued. 

Effect on contraceptives 

There is little evidence that tetracyclines reduce the efficacy of the oral contraceptive pill unless they cause gastrointestinal upset. However, to be absolutely safe, extra precautions should be taken, particularly in the first four weeks of starting the antibiotics. Discuss this with your doctor. 

If you develop side affects, advise your doctor. You may need to stop taking tetracycline or change brand.

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