GENERIC NAME: tetracycline
DISCONTINUED BRAND: Sumycin
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Tetracycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic, that is, it is active against many different types of bacteria. It is effective against Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and many others. Tetracycline prevents growth of bacteria by preventing the bacteria from manufacturing proteins that they need to survive. The first drug of the tetracycline family, chlortetracycline, was introduced in 1948.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Tetracycline is used for treating several types of infections caused by susceptible bacteria. Some examples include infections of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, and skin. It also is prescribed for nongonococcal urethritis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus, chancroid, cholera, brucellosis, anthrax, syphilis, and acne. It is used in combination with other medications to treat Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with ulcers and inflammation of the stomach and duodenum. Vibrio cholera also is treated with tetracycline.
SIDE EFFECTS: Tetracycline is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effects are:
Tetracycline may cause discoloration of teeth if used in patients below 8 years of age. Exaggerated sunburn can occur with tetracycline (photosensitivity). Therefore, sunlight or sunlamp exposure should be minimized during treatment.
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