Tetralysal is a type of antibiotic. It belongs to the group of medicines called tetracycline antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to fight infections. They inhibit the growth of bacteria. 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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Acne is a very common skin condition that results in several types of spots. The spots are caused by oily skin and can sometimes be red or hot and painful to touch. Around 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne. In girls, it is most common from ages 14 to 17 and in boys from 16 to 19. Acne usually lasts for several years once it appears, though this is on and off and not necessarily continuously. 

Acne usually starts in puberty and can range from just a few spots to something much more serious that can leave scarring and really affect self-confidence. Acne normally appears on the face, neck back and chest. Occasionally it affects younger children. It usually clears up by the time you are in your twenties, but sometimes it does not appear until you are in your late twenties or thirties. Not all spots are acne. There are six different types of spot associated with acne: 

  • Blackheads: small black or yellow bumps on the skin
  • Whiteheads: very similar to blackheads but firmer and do not empty when you squeeze them
  • Papules: small red lumps that may feel painful to touch
  • Pustules: look like papules but have a white tip in the centre, caused by pus
  • Nodules: hard bumps beneath the skin which make feel sore
  • Cysts: these are the most serious spots caused by acne, likely to be painful, they look like boils and can cause permanent scarring

Acne is caused when the oil-producing glands in our bodies are sensitive to the normal levels of certain hormones in our blood. This causes them to produce excess oil. The problem is then exacerbated when dead skin cells lining the pores do not shed properly and block up the follicles. These two problems cause excess oil to lie on the skin leading to both black and whiteheads. 

In fact, everybody has the acne bacteria living on their skin and it doesn’t usually pose a problem. But in those who suffer from acne, the build-up of oil creates the perfect environment for the spots to multiply, causing inflammation and red or pus-filled spots. Sometimes acne can be caused by medication. It can also be linked to hormone problems. Acne is not caused by poor diet, despite the popular myth that it is. There are several different types of acne, your doctor will be able to diagnose which type you have if they examine your skin. If you have very mild acne you may be able to get help and advice from your pharmacist. 

There is no actual cure for acne but there are lots of treatments out there which can be very effective. There are also some simple tips you can follow to help prevent and improve your acne. 

  • Wash with lukewarm water and very mild soap or cleanser, hot or cold water can make it worse
  • Don’t wash the area more than twice a day as this can cause irritation
  • Avoid using make-up and cosmetics that may clog the skin
  • Wash your hair regularly and keep it off your face
  • Remove make-up properly before going to bed
  • If you have dry skin use a water-based moisturiser
  • Don’t squeeze spots as this can cause permanent scarring

There are various options when it comes to treatment. For milder acne, you can purchase these over-the-counter from a pharmacist, for moderate to severe acne you should get a prescription for something stronger. 

  • Topical treatments: usually the first point of call for mild acne. These are applied all over the skin, not just to single spots. They contain active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids, azelaic acid and nicotinamide
  • Oral antibiotics: prescribed by a doctor, a type of tetracycline like Tetralysal or erythromycin. Often taken alongside using a topical treatment
  • Oral contraceptive treatments: for women with acne, some types of contraceptive pills may help. Usually, these contain a hormone blocker which reduces the amount of oil the skin produces. These obviously prevent ovulation so may not be suitable for girls where ovulation is not well established
  • Isotretinoin: a highly effective, powerful treatment. However, it does come with some serious side effects so is not always suitable
  • Light or laser therapy may help but studies show mixed results

What is Tetralysal? 

Tetralysal is a type of antibiotic. It belongs to the group of medicines called tetracycline antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to fight infections. They inhibit the growth of bacteria. The active ingredient in Tetralysal is Lymecycline. It’s usually prescribed for the treatment of acne. Tetralysal works by attacking the Propionibacterium bacteria which is one of the main causes of acne. It kills the bacteria by stopping it from making the proteins it needs to survive. It can also be used to treat other bacterial infections. 

Tetralysal takes a long time to work on acne, it is not an overnight cure. You may see some improvement in a week but on the whole, it can take a few weeks before you see the real results. Your course of Tetralysal should last at least 8 weeks. 

When is Tetralysal used? 

Tetralysal is used for moderate to severe acne. It may be used alongside a topical treatment. It can also be used to treat other bacterial infections. 

How do you use Tetralysal? 

Tetralysal comes as a capsule. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to taking medication. Tetralysal comes in an aluminium pack, tear the pack to remove each capsule. Swallow the capsule with a glass of water. Moderate amounts of milk can affect the absorption of Tetralysal so make sure you take it with water and not milk. When treating acne, Tetralysal should be used for at least 8 weeks. 

What dosages are there? 

Tetralysal comes in 300mg capsules. 

  • The usual dose for acne is 1 capsule, once a day, preferably in the morning.
  • The course will last for at least 8 weeks. It is important to continue the full course of antibiotics, even if you think the symptoms have cleared up before the 8 weeks (or the time period indicated by your doctor) is up.
  • Swallow the capsule with a glass of water. 
  • For infections: the usual dose is 1 capsule, twice a day. If the infection is severe the prescribed dose may be higher. 

If you take more Tetralysal than you should, seek immediate medical assistance. If you forget to take your capsule at the right time, don’t worry. Take it as soon as you remember. Unless it is time for your next capsule. Never double up your medication. Do not stop taking Tetralysal before you finish all of the capsules you are prescribed. Acne responds slowly to medication. If you stop taking Tetralysal your acne could become worse or come back, the same goes for an infection. 

What are the side effects of Tetralysal?  

As with all medications, Tetralysal comes with some warnings of side effects although not everybody gets them. If you experience any of the following you should stop taking Tetralysal and seek medical help immediately. 

  • Swelling around the face, tongue, lips or throat
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Hives
  • Widespread blistering or peeling of skin
  • Lesions or ulcers on the mouth, lips or genitals
  • Severe headaches or problems with your vision

Tetralysal can cause anaphylaxis if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. 

Common side effects, affecting up to 1 in 10 people are: 

  • Stomach pain 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Headaches 

There are several things you can do to help ease these side effects: 

  • For stomach pain: try to rest or relax and use a hot water bottle or wheat bag on the area that hurts. 
  • For nausea: try to take your medication with or after food and avoid rich or spicy foods. 
  • For diarrhoea: try to ensure you are drinking plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated. Don’t take any medication without speaking to your doctor. 
  • For headaches: try to rest and drink lots of water. Avoid drinking alcohol. It is ok to take ibuprofen or paracetamol when you are taking Tetralysal. 

Severe side effects are rare when taking Tetralysal. 

Other possible side effects are: 

  • Allergic reaction 
  • Fever 
  • Skin rashes or itchiness 
  • Inflammation of the intestine 
  • Vomiting 
  • Dizziness 
  • Problems with eyesight 
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Inflammation of the liver 
  • Yellowing skin or eyes 
  • Changes in some blood tests (test of liver function) 

There are also some side effects that may occur as they are related to all tetracycline antibiotics: 

  • Liver damage 
  • Inflammation or pain around the mouth area 
  • Yeast infections (genitals or anus) 
  • Colon infection 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Discolouration of teeth 

When shouldn’t you use Tetralysal? 

Tetralysal should not be used for children under 8 years of age. Tetralysal is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use Tetralysal if you are allergic to lymecycline, other tetracycline antibiotics or any of the other ingredients. An allergic reaction includes rashes and itching. Do not take if you have ever had kidney disease. Please speak to your doctor before taking Tetralysal if you have: 

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus or myasthenia gravis 
  • Hepatic impairment or renal insufficiency 

Taking Tetralysal should not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. 

Does Tetralysal interact with other medications? 

You should always speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any other medication you are using or have recently used, even herbal supplements as they can affect the way your medication works. 

In particular, speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking: 

  • Medicines to thin your blood (warfarin); 
  • Diuretics (for high blood pressure, kidney disease or heart disease); 
  • Other acne medicines. Tetralysal should not be taken at the same time as medicines that contain oral retinoids (this includes some other medicines which are used to treat acne). 

Do not take the following medicines when you are taking Tetralysal 

  • Drugs to heal ulcers
  • Remedies for indigestion
  • Quinapril: for high blood pressure; 
  • Supplements that contain calcium, aluminium, magnesium, zinc or iron as these reduce the absorption of Tetralysal. 

Where can you buy Tetralysal? 

Tetralysal is available from pharmacies nationwide. You can buy it online, from your local pharmacy, supermarket pharmacy etc. 

Can I get Tetralysal without a prescription? 

You cannot buy Tetralysal without a prescription from a doctor. It is an antibiotic and all antibiotics require a prescription in the UK. Once you have had a consultation and have a prescription for Tetralysal you can purchase it from any pharmacy. 




British Skin Foundation Acne (No date) Retrieved from https://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/acne 

Galderma Tetralysal Package Leaflet (April 2018) Retrieved from https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.926.pdf 

NHS UK Acne overview (April 2016) Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acne/ 

NHS UK Lymecycline (November 2018) Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/lymecycline/ 

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.