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Tetracyclines (Oral)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antibiotics Adult

Tetracyclines (Oral) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Tetracyclines (Oral) cause?

Some common side effects include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, stomachache or “wind” in the stomach
    • Taking the medication with some food may reduce these symptoms.
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vaginal itch or discharge, sore mouth or tongue
    • This may indicate a yeast infection which may need treatment.
  • Increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight resulting in a skin rash, itching, redness, discoloration or severe sunburn
    • Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when exposure to the sun is unavoidable.
  • Minocycline may also cause dizziness or light-headedness
    • If affected, do not drive or operate machinery.

If any of the side effects do not go away or are serious, please see your doctor.

Rare, but serious side effects include:

  • Dark urine or light coloured stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of your eyes or skin.
  • Minocycline may rarely cause blue-black pigmentation in the skin at the site of acne scars or elsewhere on the body.
  • Minocycline may also very rarely result in drug-induced lupus. Symptoms include rash on the cheeks or other parts of the body, getting sunburn easily, muscle or joint pain, chest pain or shortness of breath, or swelling in the arms or legs.

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
  • Round or oval red patches in the mouth, groin or body which may ulcerate

If you experience any of these rare or drug allergy symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Tetracyclines (Oral), what precautions must I follow?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • The person taking this medication is less than 8 - 12 years old, as this medication can cause tooth discoloration and also slow down bone growth.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • The symptoms persist after completion of the course of this medication.

In the treatment of acne, these medications may be given for about 2 to 6 months.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Tetracyclines (Oral)?

Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.

  • Concurrent administration of tetracycline with other medications may increase the blood level of the other medications such as Methotrexate and Warfarin.
  • Tetracyclines should NOT be taken concurrently with Acitretin or Isotretinoin, due to an increased risk of high pressure in the head leading to headaches, nausea and vomiting.
  • Avoid taking antacids or products containing calcium or iron together with these medications. They may reduce the effectiveness of these medications. You can take these 2 hours before or after your medication.

Tetracyclines (Oral) - Additional Information

  • Updated on Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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