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What Is Tetracycline?
Tetracycline is an antibiotic medication that can be used to treat a range of infections caused by bacteria. It belongs to a class of antibiotics called tetracyclines, which also includes antibiotics such as doxycycline and minocycline.
Tetracycline is considered a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it can effectively treat a range of different bacterial infections.
It is available under several brand names, the most recognized and available in the U.S. include: Sumycin, Panmycin, Tetracap, and Tetracon
Tetracycline comes in a variety of forms, including capsules and tablets, topical solutions or ointments, and oral suspension.
What Is Tetracycline Used For?
As a broad-spectrum antibiotic, Tetracycline is used to treat infections caused by a wide range of bacteria. Most commonly it is prescribed to treat respiratory infections, acne, and some STIs.
Common bacterial infections that can be treated with Tetracycline include:
- Skin infections
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Lower respiratory tract infections
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
The above list is not exhaustive, and other infections may also be treated with Tetracycline.
How Does Tetracycline Work?
Tetracycline works by inhibiting bacterial proteins, which are essential for the growth and survival of bacteria. Every living cell needs proteins to function. Inside bacterial cells, tiny structures called ribosomes build these proteins. Tetracycline binds to these ribosomes, preventing them from assembling the proteins correctly.
This causes the bacteria to become unable to reproduce and grow, which in turn leads to their death. Allowing the body’s immune system to more easily clear the infection.
What Are the Side Effects of Tetracycline?
The most common side effects of Tetracycline include:
- Loss of appetite
- Skin rash or itching
- Sore or irritated throat
- Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
These side effects are generally mild and quite common but if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away with time, it is important to contact a healthcare professional.
More serious side effects may include:
- Severe headaches
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Signs of allergic reaction, including hives and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
- Bloody stool
If any of these side effects occur, it is important to contact a healthcare professional. If you experience any trouble breathing or chest pain seek medical attention immediately.
How to Take Tetracycline?
As with all prescription medications, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions on how and when to take the drug.
The dosage will depend on the type and severity of the infection being treated.
When taken orally, it can be taken with both meals and without food, but if taken with food it can help reduce the risk of stomach upset.
Tetracycline should generally be taken for the duration prescribed by a doctor. If symptoms do not improve within a few days or worsen, contact your doctor as soon as possible. And always finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better. Stopping early can lead to antibiotic resistance or recurrence of the infection.
For more detailed information about Tetracycline, you can refer to the following sources:
- Tetracycline prescription label, Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Tetracycline, Drugs.com.
- Tetracycline, MedlinePlus.
The content on this page has been medically reviewed for accuracy and comprehensiveness by Amy Dougherty, FNP-BC, AGAC
Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.
Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.
If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.
Frequently asked questions
Do You Need a Prescription for Tetracycline?
Yes, you must have a valid prescription from a licensed doctor in order to purchase Tetracycline. As it is an antibiotic, these types of medications are regulated by the United States government and require a prescription in order to purchase them.
How Quickly Does Tetracycline Work?
The speed of Tetracycline’s effectiveness depends on a variety of factors such as the type and severity of the infection, the dosage, and the individual’s health and age.
In general, Tetracycline begins to take effect within a few days. However, it may take several days or even weeks for symptoms to fully resolve. It is important to follow your healthcare professional’s instructions when taking any prescription medication and always finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better.
Is Tetracycline Stronger Than Doxycycline?
As the two are very similar antibiotics, there is no clear answer to this question. Both medications may be used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, however, they may have different efficacy for different types of infection.
It is important to consult with a healthcare professional when determining the appropriate medication and dosage for your particular condition.
Is Tetracycline Safe?
Tetracycline, like any other medication, has potential side effects and should be taken as directed by a healthcare professional.
It is important to follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist regarding the dosage and frequency of taking Tetracycline and seek medical advice if you experience any serious or concerning side effects.
What to Avoid While Taking Tetracycline?
There are several things you should avoid or be cautious about when taking Tetracycline such as:
- Dairy Products
- Iron Supplements
- Excessive Sunlight
For a full list of potential drugs, food, or activities to avoid when taking Tetracycline, it is important to consult with a doctor or pharmacist.
Can You Get Tetracycline Over-The-Counter?
No, Tetracycline isn’t available over-the-counter. It is a prescription medication and must be prescribed by a healthcare professional in order to be purchased.
Can I Get Tetracycline Online?
Yes, you can get both a prescription and Tetracycline online. With DrHouse you can get an online doctor consultation from a licensed doctor in your state who can diagnose and prescribe medication when appropriate.
How Do I Get an Online Prescription for Tetracycline?
Getting a prescription for Tetracycline online with DrHouse is easy. All you need to do is sign up with us, download our telehealth app, and start an on-demand virtual visit with one of our doctors.
Once prescribed, you can get the prescription sent to your preferred pharmacy or have Tetracycline shipped directly to your door.
Is It Legal to Prescribe Tetracycline Online?
Prescribing medication, including antibiotics such as Tetracycline, online is completely legal. DrHouse is licensed and approved to prescribe medication online in the states we serve.