Tetracycline : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Tetracycline is used to treat infections caused by bacteria, including pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections; ; certain infections of the cutaneous, ocular, lymphatic, intestinal, genital and urinary systems; and certain other infections that are transmitted by ticks, lice, mites, and infected animals. It is also used in conjunction with other medications to treat acne. Tetracycline is also used to treat plague and tuleramia (serious infections that can be spread on purpose as part of a bioterrorism attack). It can also be used in patients who cannot be treated with penicillin to treat certain types of food poisoning and anthrax (a serious infection that can be purposely spread as part of a bioterrorist attack). Tetracycline belongs to a class of medications called tetracycline antibiotics. It works by preventing the growth and spread of bacteria.
Antibiotics like tetracycline will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections. Using antibiotics when they are not needed increases the risk of a subsequent infection that resists treatment with antibiotics.
How should this medicine be used?
Tetracycline comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken two to four times a day. Tetracycline should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals or snacks. Drink a full glass of water with each dose of tetracycline. Do not take tetracycline with food, especially dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tetracycline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Tetracycline is also sometimes used to treat Lyme disease and malaria, and to prevent plague and tularemia in people who have been exposed to plague or tularemia germs. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking tetracycline,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, demeclocycline, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in the tetracycline capsule. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: blood thinners (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and penicillin.
- Be aware that antacids that contain magnesium, aluminum, calcium, or sodium bicarbonate, calcium supplements, zinc products, iron products, and laxatives that contain magnesium interfere with tetracycline, making it less effective. Take tetracycline 2 hours before or 6 hours after antacids, calcium supplements, zinc products, and laxatives that contain magnesium. Take tetracycline 2 hours before or 4 hours after iron preparations and iron-containing vitamin products. Take tetracycline 2 hours before or after zinc-containing products.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had lupus (a condition in which the immune system attacks many tissues and organs, such as the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys) or kidney disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking tetracycline, call your doctor immediately. Tetracycline can harm the fetus.
- Plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight, and wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Tetracycline can make your skin sensitive to sunlight. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned.
- You should know that when tetracycline is used during pregnancy or in infants or children up to 8 years of age, it can cause teeth to become permanently stained. Tetracycline should not be used in children younger than 8 years old unless their doctor decides it is necessary.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Tetracycline may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- sore or irritated throat
- black or hairy tongue
- itching of the rectum or vagina
- swollen tongue
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- blurred vision, seeing double, or loss of vision
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes
- chest pain
- skin rash
- a return of fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- joint stiffness or swelling
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- watery or bloody stools , stomach cramps, or fever during treatment or for up to two or more months after stopping treatment
Tetracycline can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit an online report to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in its container, tightly closed and out of the reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light and excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to get rid of your medication is through a medication take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department for information on return programs in your community. Check out the FDA’s Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medications out of the sight and reach of children, as many containers (such as those for taking pills weekly and those used for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not resistant to children and children. young children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately put the medicine in a safe place, one that is up and away and out of your sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the Poison Control Helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, call 911 immediately.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests to verify your response to tetracycline.
Before having a laboratory test, tell your doctor and laboratory personnel that you are taking tetracycline.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Your prescription probably cannot be filled. If you still have symptoms of infection after finishing tetracycline, call your doctor.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should carry this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in emergencies.
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