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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: doxycycline (dox i SYE kleen)
Brand name(s): ACTICLATE, ATRIDOX, DORYX, DORYX MPC, DOXTERIC, DOXY 100, DOXY 200, MONODOX, ORACEA, VIBRAMYCIN
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Tetracyclines
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: minocycline (my noe SYE kleen)
Brand name(s): DYNACIN, MINOCIN, MINOLIRA, SOLODYN, XIMINO
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Tetracyclines
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: tetracycline (te tra SYE kleen)
Brand name(s): ACHROMYCIN V
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Tetracyclines
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

These drugs caused harm to developing fetuses in animal studies, including abnormal skeletal development. Use during pregnancy only if no other drugs will suffice. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take these drugs.

Breast-feeding Warning

Drugs in the tetracycline class are excreted in human milk. Because of the risk for permanent discoloration of teeth (yellow-gray-brown) in children who have nursed, you should not take these drugs while nursing.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is quite common and its incidence varies from 5% to 20% of patients depending on which antibiotic they are taking, although practically all antibiotics have been associated with AAD. Fortunately, most cases are mild and self-limited, ending with the cessation of use of the offending antibiotic. The antibiotics most commonly associated with this mild form of AAD include ampicillin, amoxicillin, cephalosporins and clindamycin.[1] There have been studies in children or adults in which the use of prophylactic yogurt in people using antibiotics has significantly reduced the occurrence or severity of AAD.[2],[3] However, 10% to 20% of all patients who get AAD (0.5% to 4% of patients using antibiotics) will get the more severe form of AAD known as pseudomembranous colitis (see below). If you are taking any antibiotic and develop diarrhea after starting to use the drug, call your physician to discuss whether another antibiotic should be used and to discuss the need for rehydration due to the fluid loss from the diarrhea.

Pseudomembranous colitis has been reported with nearly all antibacterial agents and may range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Therefore, it is important to consider this diagnosis in patients who present with diarrhea subsequent to the administration of antibacterial agents.

Because antibiotic therapy has been associated with severe colitis, which may end fatally, it should be reserved for serious infections where less toxic antimicrobial agents are inappropriate, as described in the INDICATIONS AND USAGE section. It should not be used in patients with nonbacterial infections such as most upper respiratory tract infections. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon and may permit over-growth of clostridia. Studies indicate that a toxin produced by Clostridium difficile is one primary cause of "antibiotic-associated colitis."

After the diagnosis of pseudomembranous colitis has been established, therapeutic measures should be initiated. Mild cases of pseudomembranous colitis usually respond to drug discontinuation alone. In moderate to severe cases, consideration should be given to management with fluids and electrolytes, protein supplementation, and treatment with an antibacterial drug that is clinically effective against C. difficile colitis.

Diarrhea, colitis, and pseudomembranous colitis have been observed to begin up to several weeks following cessation of therapy.

Warning

The use of tetracyclines during tooth development (last half of pregnancy, infancy, and childhood to the age of eight years) may cause permanent discoloration of the teeth.

Facts About This Drug [top]

The tetracyclines are a group of antibiotics that includes doxycycline (ATRIDOX, DORYX, MONODOX, ORACEA, VIBRAMYCIN), minocycline (DYNACIN, MINOCIN, SOLODYN) and tetracycline (ACHROMYCIN V, PANMYCIN). These drugs are used to treat infections and to help control acne. These drugs will not work for colds, flu or other virus infections.[4]

Tetracyclines are sometimes used in combination with other drugs to treat ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (see Combination Treatments for Helicobacter...

The tetracyclines are a group of antibiotics that includes doxycycline (ATRIDOX, DORYX, MONODOX, ORACEA, VIBRAMYCIN), minocycline (DYNACIN, MINOCIN, SOLODYN) and tetracycline (ACHROMYCIN V, PANMYCIN). These drugs are used to treat infections and to help control acne. These drugs will not work for colds, flu or other virus infections.[4]

Tetracyclines are sometimes used in combination with other drugs to treat ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (see Combination Treatments for Helicobacter Pylori Infection).

The tetracycline minocycline is a common drug of choice for patients with acne. An article published in 2007 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reviewed the use of minocycline as a first-line oral antibiotic for acne. The authors concluded that randomized trials have shown minocycline to be effective in treating acne, but there is no convincing evidence to show that it is superior to other oral antibacterial treatments.[5]

Unwanted side effects of minocycline are similar to those of other tetracyclines; however, minocycline also has been associated with darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation).[5],[6]

There also has been a case of drug-induced lupus during treatment with minocycline for acne.[7]

Prescrire International published an article in 2009 presenting information from a survey conducted by the French National Pharmacovigilance Committee on the use of the different tetracyclines. According to the results of the survey, minocycline use was associated with more adverse effects than doxycycline use. The article also stated that the use of minocycline for the treatment of acne was no more effective than the use of the other tetracyclines.[8]

In September 2010, the FDA revised the adverse reactions section of minocycline’s drug product information with information relating to post-marketing reports of thyroid cancer associated with these products. The warning advised that monitoring for signs of thyroid cancer should be considered when minocycline therapy is given over prolonged periods.[9]

The BMJ published an article in 2013 on three cases of suicidal thoughts reported to be associated with doxycycline therapy. Two of the three cases resulted in an actual suicide. The persons in the three cases were treated with doxycycline for skin conditions and had no history of previous mental health disorders.[10]

The FDA issued a safety alert in 2013 that intracranial hypertension (IH), an increase in pressure of fluid within the skull, has been associated with tetracycline therapy. IH symptoms include headache, blurred vision, double vision and vision loss. The advisory also stated that women of child-bearing age who are overweight or have a history of IH are at a greater risk of developing IH associated with tetracycline therapy.[11]

In 2017, the FDA approved revisions to the product labeling for doxycycline indicating that the drug was associated with severe skin reactions , and should be discontinued if severe skin reactions occur.[12]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • pregnancy or are breast-feeding
  • allergies to drugs
  • an unusual reaction to tetracyclines or local anesthetics (e.g., lidocaine)
  • liver or kidney problems
  • asthma
  • diabetes insipidus

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • If you plan to have any surgery, including dental, tell your doctor that you take this drug.
  • Check with your doctor if there is no improvement of symptoms within a few days (or a few weeks or months for acne patients).
  • Avoid concurrent use of a tetracycline and antacid.
  • Avoid concurrent use of a tetracycline and iron.
  • Avoid being in the sun.
  • If you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or unsteadiness, do not drive or operate dangerous machinery.
  • Use an alternate or additional method of contraception if concurrently taking estrogen-containing oral contraceptives.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • In general, take with a full glass (eight ounces) of water while in an upright position.
  • Doxycycline and minocycline may be taken with food or milk if stomach irritation occurs.
  • Avoid concurrent use of milk or dairy products with tetracycline. If stomach irritation occurs, take with food.
  • For tablets: Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.
  • Take this drug for the prescribed length of time. If you stop too soon, your symptoms could come back.
  • Discard outdated medication.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

aluminum hydroxide, AMPHOJEL, calcium carbonate, carbamazepine, CALTRATE, certoparin, COUMADIN, digoxin, DILANTIN, ESKALITH, FEOSOL, FERGON, ferrous gluconate, ferrous sulfate, LANOXIN, lithium, LUMINAL, MAALOX, magnesium hydroxide, methoxyflurane, oral contraceptives, OS-CAL 500, phenobarbital, phenytoin, PHILLIPS’ MILK OF MAGNESIA, PRIFTIN, rifapentine, SLOW FE, SOLFOTON, TEGRETOL, warfarin.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • skin rash or increased skin sensitivity to the sun
  • changes in vision
  • increased frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • increased thirst
  • yellowing or increased pigmentation of skin
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • widening of soft spot on head (infants)
  • staining of teeth (children)
  • headache
  • loss of appetite

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • stomach irritation or cramps
  • diarrhea
  • darkened or discolored tongue
  • itching in the genital or rectal area
  • sore mouth or tongue
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or unsteadiness

last reviewed April 30, 2021