In the battle against acne, the largest workhorses are the drugs from the tetracycline family. Tetracyclines belongs to the bacteriostatic group of antibiotics. Bacteriostatic antibiotics are a bit different from regular oral antibiotics.

What makes tetracycline different from regular antibiotics? Rather than just kill the antibiotics, what tetracycline does is that it inhibits the further cellular reproduction of P. acnes. That means less recurrence and the speed of healing is increased.

There are three kinds of tetracycline commonly prescribed for the treatment of acne:

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o Generic tetracycline

o Minocycline

o Doxycycline

You’re dealing with the workhorses of the battlefield. Unlike topical remedies, it will only take a few weeks before the oral antibiotics take effect. The painful pustules, nodules and lesions on your face would begin to lose their prominence. Eventually, the redness would disappear.

The largest lesions would begin to subside, then eventually pale and return to normal. That’s the power of tetracycline for you. Just how long should individuals take tetracycline?

The treatment itself often takes a long time to complete. Your doctor would be able to determine the appropriate period of treatment. Whether you’re in for a few months or a year and a half depends on your skin’s reaction to the drug and severity of your acne.

If you’re ordered by your dermatologist to take the drug for two years, blood tests are necessary to check whether everything is still okay.

The Side Effects of Tetracycline

Tetracyclines have their share of disadvantages and side effects, albeit low. Severe and life-threatening side effects are rare, but rare as it is, they still pose some great risks.

1. Side Effects on Teeth and Bones

One of tetracycline’s biggest side effects is the discoloration of children’s teeth. Furthermore, the unborn and nursing babies are at great risk of teeth and bone deformations. Who should avoid taking tetracyclines?

o Children below ten years old shouldn’t be given tetracycline preparations. These may cause permanent teeth discoloration especially during a child’s teeth’s formative years.

o Pregnant women and nursing mothers cannot undergo tetracycline treatments. If they do, the unborn child could develop permanently discolored teeth. The same holds true with breastfed infants who could ingest tetracycline through their mother’s milk. Tetracycline can also retard the child’s bone development.

2. More Side Effects

There are other less severe side effects that could, nevertheless, produce a lot of discomfort.

o Gastrointestinal irritation, mild indigestion and stomach upset were reported by patients.

o Skin rashes are rare, but they can be quite serious once they do occur.

o Doxycycline can produce extreme photosensitivity or oversensitivity to sunlight which can cause skin to sunburn easily.

o Taking antibiotics like tetracycline can trigger the reoccurrence of infection in women with a history of candidiasis or yeast infection. This infection can also appear for the first time on persons who are using tetracycline.

o Take extra precautions in using tetracyclines if you or your family has lupus erythematosus in your medical history. Don’t undergo treatment if you in any way can’t tolerate tetracycline.

Tetracyclines also have very rare side effects such as:

o Intracranial hypertension that could bring about intense headaches, apart from the usual minor headaches caused by tetracycline intake.

o A hive-like rash accompanied by painfully swelled joints.

o Jaundiced eyes, skin and mucous membranes due to tetracycline-induced hepatitis.

Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any severe side effects. GP