Tetracycline is an antibiotic whose purpose is to treat various kinds of infections caused by bacteria such as urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, acne and chlamydia among others.
Capsules are available in either 250 mg or 500 mg. Each tetracycline capsule contains the active ingredient tetracycline hydrochloride USP, and a couple of inactive ingredients such as magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and lactose. The 250 mg capsule shell has D&C yellow no.
- Pharmacological Action
Tetracycline works by inhibiting translation in order to prevent bacteria growth. This drug interferes with protein synthesis by diffusing through the porin channels found in the bacterial membrane and reversibly binds to the 30S ribosomal unit which prevents tRNA from binding to the mRNA-ribosome complex.
Tetracycline is indicated from the treatment of various bacterial infections which include urinary tract, intestines, skin infections, acne respiratory tract, lymph nodes, and other body systems. This antibiotic can also treat sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Tetracycline is a good alternative for individuals who react to penicillin. In some cases, tetracycline can treat serious infections from animals such as Anthrax, Clostridium, and Listeria.
- Mode of Indication, Dosage and Treatment Duration
Tetracycline is available as a capsule that should be taken orally usually between 2-4 times per day. This medicine should be taken on an empty stomach preferably 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking meals or snacks. Medication should be taken with a full glass of water and as earlier mentioned, it is not recommended to take tetracycline with food especially milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.
You should strictly follow directions given when you buy tetracycline or ask for clarifications where you don’t understand. Take tetracycline exactly as prescribed and not more or less than instructed by your doctor. You should avoid taking iron supplements, antacids, laxatives or calcium supplements at least 2 hours before or after taking tetracycline.
- Tetracycline Side Effects
Common side effects associated with tetracycline include:
- Sore throat;
- Stomach upset;
- Loss of appetite;
- Difficulty in swallowing;
- White patches inside the mouth or lips;
- Teeth discoloration especially in children;
- Swollen tongue;
- Vaginal itching or discharge.
Side effects that are less common include:
- Abdominal cramps;
- Nail pigmentation;
- Increase intracranial pressure.
Serious side effects that require immediate medication include:
- Unusual fatigue;
- Muscle pain;
- Easy bruising or bleeding;
- Changes in hearing i.e. decreased hearing or ringing in ears;
- Yellowing skin and eyes;
- Severe stomach pains;
- Dark urine;
- Gray or brown tooth discoloration;
- Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet.
Before commencing tetracycline, for precautionary purposes you should let your doctor know if you have any of the following:
- You’re allergic to tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline or other related medications including ingredients in tetracycline.
- You’ve suffered from kidney disease.
- You’ve ever had lupus where the immune system attacks multiple body organs.
- If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- Breastfeeding mothers are not advised to take tetracycline.
In addition, you should avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight or wear protective clothing, sunscreen or sunglasses.
- Drug Interaction
Inform your doctor about all the medicines you are using currently or plan to take including prescription, non-prescription, nutritional supplements or herbal products. Specific mention should be made of the following:
- Any antibiotic medication you are taking;
- Antacids that contain zinc and iron products, magnesium, aluminum, calcium or sodium bicarbonate;
- Blood thinners such as Warfarin, Jantoven, Coumadin;
- Laxative medications.