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Tetracycline

Pronunciation

Generic Name: tetracycline (tet-ra-SYE-kleen)
Brand Name: Sumycin

Tetracycline is used for:

Treating infections caused by certain bacteria.

Tetracycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. It works by slowing the growth of sensitive bacteria by interfering with the production of proteins needed by the bacteria to grow. Slowing the bacteria's growth allows the body's defense mechanisms to destroy them.

Do NOT use tetracycline if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in tetracycline or other tetracycline antibiotics (eg, doxycycline)
  • you are taking acitretin or methoxyflurane

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using tetracycline:

Some medical conditions may interact with tetracycline. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have diarrhea, a stomach infection, or kidney problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with tetracycline. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Acitretin or isotretinoin because side effects, such as increased pressure in the fluid surrounding the brain, may occur
  • Methotrexate, methoxyflurane, or oral anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by tetracycline
  • Atovaquone, lithium, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), or penicillins (eg, amoxicillin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by tetracycline

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if tetracycline may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use tetracycline:

Use tetracycline as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take tetracycline by mouth on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
  • Take tetracycline with a full glass of water (8 oz/240 mL). Do not lie down for 30 minutes after taking tetracycline.
  • If you also take antacids containing aluminum, calcium, or magnesium; preparations containing bismuth, iron, zinc, or sodium bicarbonate; or calcium rich foods (eg, milk, dairy products, calcium-enriched juices), do not take them within 2 to 3 hours before or after taking tetracycline. Check with your doctor if you have questions.
  • To clear up your infection completely, take tetracycline for the full course of treatment. Keep taking it even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you miss a dose of tetracycline, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use tetracycline.

Important safety information:

  • Tetracycline may cause dizziness or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use tetracycline with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Contact your doctor right away if stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools occur. Do not treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor.
  • Be sure to use tetracycline for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
  • Tetracycline may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to tetracycline. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Do not use after expiration date. Outdated medicine is highly toxic to the kidneys.
  • Long-term or repeated use of tetracycline may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
  • Hormonal birth control (eg, birth control pills) may not work as well while you are using tetracycline. To prevent pregnancy, use an extra form of birth control (eg, condoms).
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use tetracycline. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use of tetracycline in CHILDREN may cause permanent discoloring of the teeth.
  • Tetracycline should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 8 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Tetracycline has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using tetracycline while you are pregnant. Tetracycline is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking tetracycline.

Possible side effects of tetracycline:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Black hairy tongue; blurred vision; bulky loose stools; diarrhea; difficulty swallowing; fever; headache; hives; hoarseness; indigestion; inflammation or redness of tongue; joint pain; loss of appetite; mouth sores; nausea; rash; sensitivity to sunlight; sore throat; stomach pain; swelling and itching of the rectum.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); infection (fever, chills, sore throat); itching; nausea; severe skin reaction to the sun; vaginal irritation or discharge; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of tetracycline:

Store tetracycline at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed, light-resistant container. Keep away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep tetracycline out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about tetracycline, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Tetracycline is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take tetracycline or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about tetracycline. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to tetracycline. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using tetracycline.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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