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What is Tetracycline?
Tetracycline is a type of medicine called an antibiotic. It is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Tetracycline works by interfering with the ability of bacteria to produce proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, multiply and increase in numbers. This stops the spread of the infection and relieves symptoms such as pain, fever and swelling or redness of the skin.
What is Tetracycline used for?
Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means it is active against a wide range of bacteria. It can therefore be used for a wide variety of infections, including:
- Respiratory infections such as pneumonia, middle ear infection, sinus infection and laryngitis;
- Urinary infections;
- STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea;
- Skin infections such as acne and rosacea, a skin condition where bright red patches appear on the face, sometimes accompanied by bumps, spots and veins that are visible in the skin as red lines.
How to use Tetracycline
Tetracycline capsules should be swallowed whole with plenty of water. Do not take the capsules with dairy products as they may reduce the absorption of the medicine from the gut, which may make it less effective. Tetracycline should be taken on an empty stomach either one hour before or two hours after food. The doses should be spaced evenly throughout the day. It is important that you finish the entire course, even if you feel better after a few days. Tetracycline is usually prescribed as a 7 to 14-day course for treating general infections. Skin conditions such as acne and rosacea may require longer treatment courses of several weeks or months.
Unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor, the recommended dose is:
- Adults and children aged 12 and above: one 250-mg capsule every six hours.
The doctor may prescribe an adjusted dose for children aged 8 to 12 years and skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. Tetracycline is not suitable for children under the age of eight. Read the package leaflet before use.
Tetracycline can cause side effects, including:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite;
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to UV light (skin irritation, sunburn): avoid exposure to direct sunlight and sunbeds while taking this medicine.
Consult a doctor if these or other side effects are severe. For a complete list of possible side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Tetracycline
Tetracycline is not suitable for everyone. Do not take this antibiotic if:
- You are allergic to other tetracycline antibiotics, the active ingredient tetracycline or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You have a severe liver or kidney condition;
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding;
- You are under eight years of age.
Consult a doctor on the use of Tetracycline if you are currently on medication. Tetracycline may interact with other medicines. The doctor will have a list of medicines that you should avoid mixing it with. Be sure to tell the doctor about any health problems you may have.
Tetracycline should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women as it may have harmful effects on the developing baby's teeth or bones. This medicine does not interact with alcohol or affect your ability to drive safely.