Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic that works by preventing the spread and growth of bacteria within various parts of the body. In order to ensure that the infection being treated with Oxytetracycline is susceptible to the drug, your doctor might need to take a sample of tissue or a swab from the infected area. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Oxytetracycline is a medication used to treat bacterial infections, acnes, and rosacea. This drug belongs to the antibiotic family and includes the active ingredient Tetracycline. Most often, it's used to treat spots, but can also be effective at managing various bacterial infections.  Oxytetracycline is commonly used for chest infections like mycoplasma, pneumonia, and bronchitis. In some cases, it will be used for sexually transmitted infections too. Doctors may also prescribe Oxytetracycline to treat infections transmitted by ticks, such as Typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Coxiella Endocarditis.  

What is Oxytetracycline? 

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic that works by preventing the spread and growth of bacteria within various parts of the body. In order to ensure that the infection being treated with Oxytetracycline is susceptible to the drug, your doctor might need to take a sample of tissue or a swab from the infected area. Some doctors conduct blood tests before prescribing Oxytetracycline. Usually, Oxytetracycline is used to treat periods of severe acne, because it works against the bacteria that is most common with the spread of acne. The bacteria Propione bacterium acnes feeds on the oil produced by the sebaceous glands in your skin. This oil is harmless in most cases but can lead to painful spots when infected with bacteria. Oxytetracycline controls the multiplication of bacteria and gives the skin a chance to heal.

When is Oxytetracycline used? 

Oxytetracycline is a prescription-only medication that is usually given to people suffering from severe acne, and some other infections. It is possible to take Oxytetracycline to treat a range of skin and chest infections, such as bronchitis, and pneumonia. Oxytetracycline is also used to treat infections transmitted by the bites of ticks, and infections caused by unprotected sex.  

Oxytetracycline is not recommended for children under the age of 12, or for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Usually, if your doctor gives you this medication, they will also advise you to take care of your skin in the time you're using it. You should use sunlamps or sunbeds with the medicine, and you should not apply many serums or substances to your skin.  

How do you use Oxytetracycline? 

Oxytetracycline is most effective when it is taken with an empty stomach. Your doctor will ask you to take your pills at least one hour before eating food, or two hours after a meal. You should not take this pill at the same time as food, or dairy products, as they may stop the medicine from being absorbed into your body fully. Take your tablets according to the instructions given by your doctor, with a full glass of water to avoid allowing the medicine to irritate your throat. You should not take any indigestion remedies, or pills that contain certain substances like iron or calcium when using Oxytetracycline. Certain other substances can reduce the efficacy of Oxytetracycline.  

If you forget to take a dose of Oxytetracycline, then you will need to take your pill as soon as you remember, unless you're close to the time when you're supposed to be taking your next dose. It's not recommended to take a double-dose of Oxytetracycline to make up for any tablets that you have missed. If your next pill is due, skip the missed dose and carry on with your pills as normal. Unlike some other antibiotics, there is no warning on Oxytetracycline that advises users not to drink alcohol when using the substance. However, it's important to pay attention to how you respond to alcohol when using this drug. If you feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or get a headache, then you could be experiencing a negative reaction. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol with Oxytetracycline may be dangerous for your liver.  

What dosages are available? 

Your doctor will determine your dosage of Oxytetracycline and the length of time you should take it for according to your condition and the infection or issue that you want to treat. For instance, if you are taking Oxytetracycline for acne then the usual dose is 500mg which is split between two tablets. You will take this dose twice a day, once on an evening and once on a morning, usually for up to 12 weeks. Some doctors will recommend taking Oxytetracycline for at least 3 months to fully eliminate acne and give the skin a chance to heal.  

If you're using Oxytetracycline to treat an infection, then you will be given one or two tablets (usually 250mg each) to take four times each day. You will need to spread your doses evenly throughout your daily schedule and try to avoid taking them too close to meals. The dosage and length of your treatment will depend on the severity of your infection.  Follow the directions given by your doctor as closely as possible. You will also be able to find additional information about how to use Oxytetracycline printed on the leaflet that comes included with your medication. Make sure that you always complete the full prescribed course of Oxytetracycline, regardless of whether you start to feel better before your pills run out. Stopping your course early may mean that the bacteria grows resistant to the antibiotic, and the issue comes back.  

What are the side effects of Oxytetracycline? 

All medicines, including Oxytetracycline may cause side effects. Your risk of side effects with Oxytetracycline will depend on the way that your body responds to certain substances. Remember that the list below is not a complete list of side effects. If you notice anything unusual when taking this drug, speak to your doctor or seek help from a pharmacist.  

Common side effects of Oxytetracycline include: 

  • Sickness or nausea 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Stomachache: your doctor may ask you to try taking the pills with food if you experience an upset stomach 
  • Lost appetite 
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing 

In rare cases, you may also experience other side effects when taking Oxytetracycline, such as visual disturbances, like flashes of light, or headaches. Dizziness and problems with your blood cells that lead to sore throats or unexplained bruising are other rare issues. Some additional possible side effects connected to Oxytetracycline include: 

  • Overgrowth of yeast called Candida which can cause infections and thrush. Speak to your doctor if you're concerned that you have developed a new infection when taking Oxytetracycline.  
  • Skin reactions like itching, a rash, or increased sensitivity to UV light. It's important to avoid over-exposing yourself to the sun when taking Oxytetracycline 
  • Inflammation of your bowel which results in severe or persistent diarrheoa. Seek help if your bowel movements contain mucus or blood.  
  • Pancreas inflammation. Seek help from a doctor as quickly as possible if you get severe pain in your upper abdomen 
  • Increased pressure in the skill. Speak to your doctor if you get a persistent or severe headache when taking Oxytetracycline, or experience blurred or double vision.  
  • Liver issues. If you notice yellowing in your eyes or skin, seek emergency medical attention.  

If you are taking Oxytetracycline for an extended period of time, then your doctor may ask for you to see them for regular appointments. This will allow them to monitor the side effects of the medicine.  

When shouldn't you use Oxytetracycline? 

Oxytetracycline is only one form of treatment used for infections and acne. If you are not suited to this kind of drug, then your doctor may suggest an alternative treatment. For instance, Oxytetracycline is not recommended for children younger than 12, or women who are pregnant. The Oxytetracycline can end up in the bones of a baby, an affect the development of the skeleton. Additionally, doctors will not prescribe Oxytetracycline to women who are breastfeeding, as it can pass into the breast milk.  

You will not be able to take Oxytetracycline if you have decreased kidney function or have ever suffered from kidney failure. It's also important to speak to your doctor if you're concerned that you may be allergic to any ingredients in the tablets. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any allergic reactions you may have had to antibiotics in the past.  If you have liver problems, or are taking medicines that affect your liver, your doctor may want to monitor you or give you a lower dose of Oxytetracycline. Additionally, you may need to show caution when taking this drug with abnormal muscle weakness conditions, or inflammatory issues like lupus erythematosus.  

Does Oxytetracycline interact with any other medications? 

Make sure that your doctor has a full list of the medications that you are taking before you use Oxytetracycline. If you are taking any other drugs, including over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies, or supplements, these could affect the way that your medicine works.  

Do not take Oxytetracycline if you are taking anticoagulants that thin the blood, other medicines intended for the treatment of acne, water tablets, or insulin. Oxytetracycline will not be suitable for people who are taking certain medications for type 2 diabetes. Women taking the contraceptive pill may find that the pill behaves differently when they are taking Oxytetracycline. Your doctor may ask you to use a different form of contraception. Additionally, it's a good idea to avoid taking any medicine that includes the following ingredients for up to two hours after or before using Oxytetracycline: 

  • Sucrafalate 
  • Zinc salts 
  • Aluminium salts 
  • Calcium supplements 
  • Kaolin 
  • Iron preparations 
  • Antacids for heartbearn 
  • Magnesium carbonate 
  • Didanosine 

Retinoid medicines such as alitretinoin, tretinoin, or isotretinoin should not be taken with Oxytetracycline, as this can increase your risk of higher pressure in the skull. You should not take Viotif for typhoid until at least 3 days after using Oxytetracycline.

Where can you buy Oxytetracycline? 

Oxytetracycline can be purchased from both online and offline pharmacies, however you will need a prescription from your doctor to make the purchase. Your doctor will need to conduct tests to ensure that Oxytetracycline is appropriate for your level of acne, or the infection that you are trying to overcome.  

Can you get Oxytetracycline without a prescription?  

You can not buy Oxytetracycline without a prescription online, or over the counter. However, you may be able to get a doctor consultation on the web from certain companies. This may involve sending a picture of your acne to a doctor.




BNF NICE, Accessed on 10th of May 2019, Oxytetracycline, Retrieved from:  https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/oxytetracycline.html  

DDSA Pharmaceuticals Ltd, London, UK, Last revised 04/2016, Oxytetracycline tablets 250mg, Retrieved from: https://www.drugs.com/uk/oxytetracycline-tablets-250mg-leaflet.html  

John Cunha, Last reviewed 10/03/2016, Terramycin side effects, Retrieved from: https://www.rxlist.com/terramycin-side-effects-drug-center.htm  

WebMD, Accessed on 10th of May 2019, Oxytetracycline HCL Capsule, Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5386/oxytetracycline-oral/details  



Assessed by:

Dr Wouter Mol, General practitioner
Registration number: BIG: 9057675501

Dr Wouter Mol studied medicine at the University of Groningen. From 2002 to 2003, he served as a resident in neurology, and from 2003 to 2005 he served his residency training in internal medicine and emergency medicine. Wouter Mol has been working as a GP since 2005.