- What is tetracycline, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Is tetracycline available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for tetracycline?
- What are the side effects of tetracycline?
- What is the dosage for tetracycline?
- Is tetracycline safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about tetracycline?
What is tetracycline, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What are the side effects of tetracycline?
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.
What is the dosage for tetracycline?
Food or dairy products reduce the absorption of tetracycline. Therefore, tetracycline should be taken at least two hours before or after meals. For most infections, tetracycline is taken two to four times daily for 7 to 14 days. The usual adult dose is 1-2 g/day in 2 or 4 divided doses.
Is tetracycline safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Tetracycline is secreted into breast milk. Since tetracycline can impair the development of bone in infants, nursing mothers should not use tetracycline.
What else should I know about tetracycline?
What preparations of tetracycline are available?
Capsules: 250 and 500 mg; Oral Suspension: 125 mg/5 ml (teaspoon).
How should I keep tetracycline stored?
Tetracycline should be stored below 30 C (86 F).
Tetracycline (Sumycin, discontinued) is a medication that is used for treating several types of infections. Examples of infections include: infections of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, and skin; urethritis, typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), acne, anthrax, cholera, and H. pylori. Side effects and drug interactions should be reviewed prior to taking tetracycline (Achromycin, Sumycin).
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Rosacea Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Think acne and rosacea are the same? Think again. Take the Rosacea Quiz to learn all about this inflammatory skin condition....
Acne (Pimples) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the world. If you suffer from acne, you are not alone and many treatment options are...
Picture of Syphilis
A sexually transmitted disease caused by Treponema pallidum, a microscopic organism called a spirochete. See a picture of...
Picture of Chlamydia
A type of bacteria which causes an infection very similar to gonorrhea in the way that it is spread, the symptoms it produces,...
Picture of Chancroid
A sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi. See a picture of Chancroid and learn more...
Picture of Folliculitis
An infection of the hair follicles of the skin. See a picture of Folliculitis and learn more about the health topic....
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: See Photos of the Rash
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease carried by ticks that can be fatal if not treated. See pictures of the symptoms of...
Related Disease Conditions
Acne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This...
Boils (Skin Abscesses)
A boil is a skin abscess, a collection of pus localized deep in the skin. There are several different types of boils. Among them...
Bullous pemphigoid is a skin disease that causes blistering eruptions on the skin's surface and sometimes affects the inner...
Canker Sores (Causes, Home Remedies, Treatment, and Prevention)
Canker sores are a common complaint, and are small ulcers on the inside of the mouth. Canker sores aren't contagious (as opposed...
Learn more about cavities including symptoms, treatment, and prevention. See how tooth decay, plaque, and bacteria contribute to...
Clostridium Difficile Colitis (Antibiotic-Associated Colitis, C. difficile colitis)
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium, and is one of the most common causes of infection of the colon. C. difficile...
H. pylori (Helicobacter Pylori ) Infection Symptoms, Test, Treatment
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that causes chronic inflammation (gastritis) of the inner lining of the stomach,...
Malaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills,...
Peptic Ulcer (Stomach Ulcer)
Peptic or stomach ulcers are ulcers are an ulcer in the lining of the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. Ulcer formation is related...
Pinkeye, also called conjunctivitis, is redness or irritation of the conjunctivae, the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids...
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes:...
Rosacea is a skin disease that causes redness of the forehead, chin, and lower half of the nose. In addition to inflammation of...
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in...
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STD)
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that are transmitted during any type of sexual exposure, including...
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra. E. coli, a type of bacteria that...
Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum) is bacteria found in fresh and saltwater that can infect the skin through cuts or scrapes,...
Weber-Christian disease is a rare inflammatory disease that affects the body's fat tissues. It's also known as relapsing febrile...
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Life Expectancy
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or...
Anthrax is a deadly infectious disease that may be transmitted to humans by infected animals or by biological warfare. There are...
Chlamydia in Women (Symptoms and Cures)
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. Signs and symptoms of chlamydia, a bacterial infection,...
Syphilis in Women
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a spiral-shaped type of bacteria known as a spirochete. There are...
Pseudotumor Cerebri (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension)
Pseudotumor Cerebri (intracranial hypertension) is a condition where there is an increase in pressure of fluid surrounding the...
Yaws is an infectious disease that mainly occurs in the tropical areas of South and Central America, Asia, Africa, and the...
Pregnancy and Drugs (Prescription and OTC)
Taking prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs or supplements should be discussed with your doctor. There are some...
Heart Attack Prevention
Heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management....
Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs)
Sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) is an inflammation of the skin induced by the combination of medications or substances and...
STDs in Men
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria,...
Cholera is an infectious disease characterized by intense vomiting and profuse watery diarrhea and that rapidly lease to...
Pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining around the lungs, is associated with sharp chest pain upon breathing in. Cough, chest...
Antibiotic Resistance (Drug Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance)
Drug resistance (antimicrobial resistance) is the ability of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses to grow, even in the...
Dry eyes are caused by an imbalance in the tear-flow system of the eye, but also can be caused by the drying out of the tear...
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized....
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash, headache, and muscle...
Plague (Black Death)
Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. Transmission to humans occurs via fleas that have bitten...
Folliculitis is a skin condition that causes small red bumps to form around the hair follicles. Skin bacteria such as...
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People...
Ingrown hairs may be caused by improper shaving, waxing, or blockage of the hair follicle. Symptoms and signs of ingrown hairs...
Tularemia (rabbit fever) is an infection caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria. People can become infected with tularemia...
Pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid in the chest or on the lungs. There are two types of pleural effusion, trandsudate and...
Typhus is a disease caused by Rickettsia bacteria. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and...
Is H. pylori Contagious? Symptoms and Tests
H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) infection: Is it contagious? H. pylori infection is caused by fecal contamination in either food...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Acne FAQs
- Rosacea FAQs
- How to Tell If Your Red Skin Is Rosacea?
- What Are the Side Effects of Taking Antibiotics Long-Term?
- Herbs: Toxicities and Drug Interactions
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal - What to Do with Old or Unusable Medication
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- There's Bad Buzz on Antibiotics for Honeybees
- U.S. Cases of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Rise Fourfold in One Year
- Rosacea Might Boost Parkinson's Risk: Study
- Safe Treatments Available for Expectant Moms' Skin Conditions
- Poultry Plants Linked to Salmonella Outbreak to Remain Open: USDA
- Antibiotic Resistance Ups Salmonella Hospitalizations: CDC
- Keep Beauty Regimen Safe During Pregnancy, Doctor Advises
- Gonorrhea Resistant to All But One Antibiotic: CDC
- 'Fish Pedicure' a Recipe for Bacterial Infection, Researchers Warn
- Pig-to-Human 'Superbug' May Be Due to Animal Antibiotics
- Experts Warn of Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea
- Health Highlights: May 26, 2011
- Animal Farms May Produce Superbugs
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top tetracycline Related Articles
AcneAcne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This inflammation, depending on its location, can take the form of a superficial pustule (contains pus), a pimple, a deeper cyst, congested pores, whiteheads, or blackheads. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the acne.
Take the Acne QuizAcne is the most common skin disorder in the world. If you suffer from acne, you are not alone and many treatment options are available. Learn more about pimples, blackheads, and comedones with the Acne Quiz.
BoilsA boil is a skin abscess, a collection of pus localized deep in the skin. There are several different types of boils. Among them are the following: furuncle or carbuncle, cystic acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, and pilonidal cyst.
Bullous PemphigoidBullous pemphigoid is a skin disease that causes blistering eruptions on the skin's surface and sometimes affects the inner lining of the mouth. Symptoms include severe itching and burning sensations. Treatment involves topical cortisone and sometimes high doses of cortisone. Severe cases may require immune-suppression drugs such as azathioprine.
Canker sores are a common complaint, and are small ulcers on the inside of the mouth. Canker sores aren't contagious (as opposed to cold sores), and typically last for 10-14 days usually healing without scarring. A variety of things cause canker sores, for example, medications (aspirin, beta blockers, NSAIDs, high blood pressure medication, and antibiotics); injury to the mouth from dental work, braces, or sports accidents; acidic foods; allergies; and diseases or conditions like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and lupus.
Canker sores can be cure with home remedies, and prescription and OTC topical and oral medication.
CavitiesLearn more about cavities including symptoms, treatment, and prevention. See how tooth decay, plaque, and bacteria contribute to the creation of cavities and how regular brushing and flossing can help prevent dental caries.
Clostridium Difficile ColitisClostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium, and is one of the most common causes of infection of the colon. C. difficile spores are found frequently in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, and nurseries for newborn infants. They can be found:
- on bedpans,
- toilet seats,
- rooms, and
- diaper pails.
- replenishment of electrolyte deficiencies,
- discontinuing the antibiotic that caused the colitis, and
- using antibiotics to eradicate the C. difficile bacterium.
Folliculitis PictureAn infection of the hair follicles of the skin. See a picture of Folliculitis and learn more about the health topic.
Helicobacter PyloriHelicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that causes chronic inflammation (gastritis) of the inner lining of the stomach, and also is the most common cause of ulcers worldwide. About 50% of people in the world carries or is infected with H. pylori. Common symptoms of H. pylori infection are occasional abdominal discomfort, bloating, belching or burping, and nausea and vomiting. H. pylori infection is difficult to erdicate, and treatment is with two or more antibiotics.
Liver Blood TestsAn initial step in detecting liver damage is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain liver enzymes in the blood. Under normal circumstances, these enzymes reside within the cells of the liver. But when the liver is injured, these enzymes are spilled into the blood stream, and can lead to diseases like fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hepatitis. Several medications also can increase liver enzyme test results.
Malaria FactsMalaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Treatment involves supportive care and antibiotics.
Peptic or stomach ulcers are ulcers are an ulcer in the lining of the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. Ulcer formation is related to H. pylori bacteria in the stomach, use of anti-inflammatory medications, and cigarette smoking. Symptoms of peptic or stomach ulcers include abdominal burning or hunger pain, indigestion, and abdominal discomfort after meals.
Treatment for stomach ulcers depends upon the cause.
RMSF SlideshowRocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease carried by ticks that can be fatal if not treated. See pictures of the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever here.
Take the Rosacea QuizThink acne and rosacea are the same? Think again. Take the Rosacea Quiz to learn all about this inflammatory skin condition.