Family doctor



TETRACYCLINES - a patient's guide


These antibiotics are used to treat many common infections, sexually transmitted diseases and acne. This article profiles the medication.


  • Tetracycline - Panmycin
  • Doxycycline - Doxy 100‚Äö
  • Minocycline - Minotab, Minomycin

USE: Antibiotic - broad spectrum

This medicine is used to treat bacterial infections involving the chest, stomach, skin, throat, urinary tract, and other infections. It is also used to treat sexually transmitted diseases and acne. Tetracyclines work by preventing the formation of bacteria, thus stopping the growth of various infections.


  • Previous allergy to sulphonamides
  • Liver and kidney impairment
  • Children < 12 years (teeth discolouration)
  • Oral contraceptive (the "Pill") users
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Side effects:

Occasional: stomach upset, photosensitivity (sunburn risk), vaginal thrush susceptibility

Rarely: headache, eye sight problems, skin rash

Overdose: liver injury


Oral contraceptives (the "Pill") - use additional contraception (e.g. condoms), while on the antibiotic and until SEVEN DAYS of active pills have been taken in a row after course of antibiotics is completed.

Antacids, calcium and iron supplements reduce its absorption.

Other medicines include ACE inhibitors, antiepileptics and anticoagulants.

Patient information:

  • Follow instructions carefully on the label of the medicine.
  • Always complete the course of antibiotics unless directed by your doctor.
  • Food: Take the medicine after food with a large glass of water.
  • Alcohol: No problems.
  • Sunlight: Avoid excess exposure.
  • Calcium, antacids, iron supplements: Take after 3 hours of using this medicine.
  • Consult your doctor immediately if side effects are severe (e.g. skin rash) or you experience ongoing side effects.

See also:

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