Oral Antibiotic
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The following side effects are expected to occur with the use of tetracycline. Contact your doctor if these symptoms are severe and/or do not go away:

How Common (based on clinical studies)

NauseaUp to 16.8% of all users
Diarrhea or watery stoolsUp to 8.7% of all users
Heartburn or indigestionUp to 4.8% of all users
Pain in the upper part of the abdomenUp to 3.9% of all users
VomitingUp to 2.4% of all users
Itching and irritation in the rectum or vaginaUp to 2.4% of all users
Irritated or sore throatUnknown
Swelling of the tongueUnknown
Black discoloration and hairy coating on tongueUnknown

Tetracycline may cause some side effects that are serious. If you experience any of the following, get in touch with your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:

  • Pain in the chest
  • Rash on any part of the body
  • Swelling of eyes, lips, tongue, throat, or face
  • Abnormal bruising or bleeding
  • Signs of infection such as a fever or sore throat
  • Severe headache
  • Changes in vision
  • A sudden appearance of swelling and rash (known as hives)
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Fever, abdominal cramps, watery stools or blood in stools either during or up to two or more months of treatment with tetracycline
  • Swelling or stiffness of joints

Tetracycline may also cause other side effects that are not mentioned here. Contact your doctor if you experience any other troublesome symptoms when using tetracycline.

  1. UpToDate. Tetracyclines: drug information. Available from:  https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tetracycline-drug-information?source=search_result&search=tetracycline&selectedTitle=1~150. Cited 27 February 2017.
  2. Gratton D, et al. Topical clindamycin versus systemic tetracycline in the treatment of acne. J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 7, 50-53 (1982).
  3. Katsambas A, Towarkky AA, and Stratigos J. Topical clindamycin phosphate compared with oral tetracycline in the treatment of acne vulgaris. British Journal of Dermatology 116, 387-391 (1987).
  4. Norris JFB, Hughes BR, Basey AJ, and Cunliffe WJ. A comparison of the effectiveness of topical tetracycline, benzoyl-peroxide gel and oral oxytetracycline in the treatment of acne. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 16, 31-33 (1991).
  5. Ozolins M, et al. Comparison of five antimicrobial regimes for treatment of mild to moderate inflammatory facial acne vulgaris in the community: randomised controlled trial. Lancet 364, 2188- 2195 (2004).
  6. Burton J, and The Dermatology Research Group. A placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of topical tetracycline and oral tetracycline in the treatment of mild to moderate acne. The Journal of International Medical Research 18, 94-103 (1990).