Tetracycline hydrochloride is an antibiotic used to treat a wide range of infections.
It is effective against a wide range of bacteria, as well as other organisms, including some protozoan parasites.
Tetracycline is commonly used to treat acne and other skin infections; respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia; genital and urinary infections; and Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that can lead to stomach ulcers).
It is also sometimes used to treat Lyme disease and to prevent anthrax infection.
The first drug in the family Tetracycline, chlortetracycline, was introduced in 1948.
Tetracycline and resistance to antibiotics
Excessive use of tetracycline (and other antibiotics) in humans and farm animals has allowed some bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics.
The development of these so-called bacteria limits the number of infections that can be treated with antibiotics, such as tetracycline. (Partly as a result of resistance to antibiotics, tetracycline is prescribed less often today than other, more effective antibiotics).
Doctors now strongly recommend the appointment of tetracycline only when there is evidence or strong suspicion that bacteria, not the virus, cause infection.
Because tetracycline does not work for colds, flu (influenza) or other viral infections, if you take it for these conditions, you can promote the development of drug-resistant diseases without doing anything to help your illness.
Tetracycline for dogs and other animals
Tetracycline is prescribed to dogs, other pets and livestock. Low doses are usually given to farm animals to promote their growth.
It is often used in dogs and cats to treat leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, mycoplasma and psittacosis. Tetracycline is also effective in animals that have tick-borne infections, such as Lyme disease, erlichiosis and spotted fever.
Before taking tetracycline, you should tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- hay fever
- kidney disease
- liver disease
You must tell your doctor that you are taking this medication before any type of surgery, including dental surgery.
Tetracycline can cause false testimony on sugar tests in the urine. If you have diabetes, you should talk with your doctor about this possibility before changing your diet or changing the dosage of the medicine for diabetes.
Tetracycline and children
When this drug is used to treat children under the age of 8, this can lead to discoloration of the teeth throughout life. This can also affect the growth of the child.
Therefore, tetracycline should not be used by children under the age of 8 unless prescribed by a doctor.
Pregnancy and Tetracycline
Tetracycline is the drug of the D category of pregnancy. Studies show that a drug can worsen the development of bones in infants. Use during pregnancy can also lead to discoloration of the teeth throughout your child’s life.
This drug can not be used during pregnancy, unless the benefits outweigh the risks.
Tetracycline is secreted in breast milk and can affect the development of bones and teeth in an infant. Women should not use this medication during breastfeeding.
Side effects of tetracycline
Common side effects
You should call your doctor if any of the following side effects become serious or do not go away:
- Stomach upset
- The sick mouth
- Skin discoloration
- Rectum or vaginal itching
Serious side effects
You should see a doctor immediately if you have the following serious symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Skin rash, itching or urticaria
- Strong headache
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Light intestinal discharge
- Urine of dark color or decrease in urination
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme fatigue or weakness
- The throat hurts or the pain in the mouth
- Fever or chills
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
Tetracycline may decrease the effectiveness of some oral contraceptive pills. You must use another method of contraception when taking this medication.
Calcium supplements, iron products, laxatives, containing magnesium and antacids, can make Tetracycline less effective. You should take tetracycline one hour before or two hours after taking antacids, calcium supplements and laxatives containing magnesium.
You should take Tetracycline two hours before or three hours after taking iron and vitamin products containing iron.
Tell your doctor about all the medications that you take, especially:
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as warfarin (coumadin)
- Isotretinoin (Accutane)
- Tretinoin (Retin-A)
- Drugs that lower cholesterol, such as cholestyramine (Prevalit, Questran) or colistid (Colestid)
- Any product that contains bismuth subsalicylate, such as Pepto-Bismol
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital
Tetracycline and other interactions
Consumption of dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream may interfere with the absorption of tetracycline. You should talk with your doctor about this interaction.
This drug can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. You should avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to the sun while taking tetracycline.
Dosage of Tetracycline
Tetracycline is taken orally as a capsule or liquid, usually two to four times a day for 7-14 days.
The usual dose of tetracycline for adults is 1-2 g (g) per day in two or four doses.
You should take Tetracycline on an empty stomach with a full glass of water. Take the drug at least one hour before or two hours after a meal or snack.
Overdose of tetracycline
Symptoms of overdose may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect an overdose, you should immediately contact a toxicology center or an emergency room. You can call the Toxicology Center
The missed dose of tetracycline
If you miss a dose of tetracycline, take it as soon as you remember.
Forget the missed dose if it’s time for the next scheduled dose.
Do not double the dose to make up the missed one.