Other Names: Achromycin V, Brodspec, Cyclopar, Panmycin, Robitet, Sumycin, Tetracyn, Tetralan, Tetrex, others

Why is this drug prescribed?
Tetracycline, an antibiotic, eliminates bacteria that cause infections, including pneumonia, acne, venereal (sexually transmitted) disease. It is not effective for viral infections, such as the common cold. Please ask us about this drug's use in urology.

When should it be used?
Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your pharmacist to explain any part that you do not understand. Doses should be taken as far apart as possible throughout the day. For example, if you are told to take tetracycline four times a day, take a dose every six hours. If you cannot take the drug around the clock, take it at evenly spaced intervals between the time you wake up in the morning and the time you go to bed at night (for example, at 7 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 10 p.m.).

How should it be used?
Tetracycline comes in capsules, tablets, oral liquid, and injection form. Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose. Tetracycline should be taken on an empty stomach, one hour before or two hours after meals. The capsules and tablets should be taken with a full glass of water. Liquid tetracycline should be shaken well before each use to mix the medication evenly. You may obtain a specially marked measuring spoon from your pharmacist to be sure of an accurate dose. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

What special instructions should I follow while using this drug?
Take all the medication prescribed, even after the infection appears to have gone away. Failure to do so could allow the infection to return. Tetracycline can cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, limit the amount of time you spend in the sun until you know how this drug affects you. While in the sun, keep your body covered with clothing, use a sunscreen preparation on exposed skin, and wear sunglasses. If you become sunburned, contact us. If you have diabetes, tetracycline can cause false results in some tests for sugar in the urine. Check with your doctor before changing your diet or the dosage of your diabetes medicine.

What special dietary instructions should I follow while using this drug?
Take tetracycline at least one hour before or two hours after eating dairy products, such as milk and cheese.

What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals.

What side effects can this drug cause? What can I do about them?
If you experience an upset stomach, disregard the instruction to take this medication on an empty stomach and take it with crackers or a snack (no dairy products). If stomach upsets continue, contact your doctor. You may also experience diarrhea, itching of rectum or vagina, sore mouth, and/or skin rash. If this problem is severe or persists for longer than two days, contact us.

What other precautions should I follow while using this drug?
If you have used all the medication prescribed but still have symptoms, contact us. Tetracycline should not be taken by children under 8 years of age, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. Women who become pregnant while taking tetracycline should let us know. Because certain medications affect how the body responds to tetracycline, they should not be taken at the same time as tetracycline. Tetracycline should be taken two hours before or three hours after iron preparations (many vitamin combinations contain iron). It should be taken one hour before or two hours after antacids (including baking soda), laxatives, and calcium supplements. Tell us about all prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially blood thinners, birth control pills, lithium, penicillin and anti-diarrhea products. If your doctor tells you to stop taking tetracycline, throw away any unused medication. This drug loses its effectiveness and should not be saved to treat another infection. Old tetracycline may cause dangerous effects. Before having surgery with a general anesthetic, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking tetracycline.