Oral Antibiotic
Compare To Other Treatments

What Is It?

Minocycline is an oral antibiotic that works by fighting bacteria in the body, including in the skin, and also reduces inflammation. It should be used only short term (max. 3 months).


Strength of Evidence
Average 54% reduction in acne after 12 weeks
  1. Xu, X. et al. Efficacy of photodynamic therapy combined with minocycline for treatment of moderate to severe facial acne vulgaris and influence on quality of life. Medicine (Baltimore) 96, e9366 (2017).
  2. Ocampo-Candiani, J., Velazquez-Arenas, L. L., de la Fuente-Garcia, A., Trevino-Gomezharper, C. & Berber, A. Safety and efficacy comparison of minocycline microgranules vs lymecycline in the treatment of mild to moderate acne: randomized, evaluator-blinded, parallel, and prospective clinical trial for 8 weeks. J Drugs Dermatol 13, 671–676 (2014).
  3. Hayashi, N. & Kawashima, M. Efficacy of oral antibiotics on acne vulgaris and their effects on quality of life: a multicenter randomized controlled trial using minocycline, roxithromycin and faropenem. J Dermatol 38, 111–119 (2011).
  4. Fleischer, A. B. et al. Safety and efficacy of a new extended-release formulation of minocycline. Cutis 78, 21–31 (2006).
  5. Ozolins, M. et al. Comparison of five antimicrobial regimens for treatment of mild to moderate inflammatory facial acne vulgaris in the community: randomised controlled trial. Lancet 364, 2188–2195 (2004).
  6. Bossuyt, L. et al. Lymecycline in the treatment of acne: an efficacious, safe and cost-effective alternative to minocycline. Eur J Dermatol 13, 130–135 (2003).
  7. Dreno, B. et al. Multicenter randomized comparative double-blind controlled clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of zinc gluconate versus minocycline hydrochloride in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris. Dermatology 203, 135–140 (2001).
  8. Gruber, F. et al. Azithromycin compared with minocycline in the treatment of acne comedonica and papulo-pustulosa. J Chemother 10, 469–473 (1998).
  9. Grosshans, E., Belaïch, S., Meynadier, J., Alirezai, M. & Thomas, L. A comparison of the efficacy and safety of lymecycline and minocycline in patients with moderately severe acne vulgaris. Eur J Dermatol 8, 161–166 (1998).
  10. Stainforth, J. et al. A single-blind comparison of topical erythromycin/zinc lotion and oral minocycline in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 4, 119–122 (1993).
  11. Sheehan-Dare, R. A., Papworth-Smith, J. & Cunliffe, W. J. A double-blind comparison of topical clindamycin and oral minocycline in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Acta Derm Venereol 70, 534–537 (1990).
  12. Ólafsson, J. H., Gudgeirsson, J., Eggertsdóttir, G. E. & Kristjánsson, F. Doxycycline versus minocycline in the treatment of acne vulgaris: A double-blind study. Journal of Dermatological Treatment 1, 15–17 (1989).
  13. Monk, B. E. et al. Efficacy of low-dose cyproterone acetate compared with minocycline in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 12, 319–322 (1987).
  14. Pigatto, P. D. et al. Isotretinoin versus minocycline in cystic acne: a study of lipid metabolism. Dermatologica 172, 154–159 (1986).
  15. Cullen, S. I. & Cohan, R. H. Minocycline therapy in acne vulgaris. Cutis 17, 1208–1210, 1214 (1976).

Side Effects

High side effects and adverse reactions

Acne.org's Real World Take

Antibiotics should be used for a maximum of 3 months, provide only moderate benefit and only to some people, and may lead to side effects and strains of resistant bacteria. Studies do show they can reduce severe acne in the short term, but approach with caution and stay your own advocate.


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