The tetracycline group is the powerhouse in oral acne treatment. They are the leader of the proverbial pack as far as moderate to severe acne management is concerned.

The various tetracycline formulations deter the development of P. acnes by heading straight to the sebaceous glands to disable the acne-causing bacteria. Tetracyclines work through bacteriostasis, preventing the spread and growth of bacteria. What’s more, they have anti-inflammatory properties the drastically reduce the size of papules and pustules in patients.

Tetracyclines are divided into three types – plain or generic, minocycline and doxycycline.



Any one of these tetracyclines can show marked improvement of acne within a few weeks, maybe less. Response to medication differ and depends on your acne’s condition, whether it’s moderate or severe. Whatever it is, you will see zits and bumps deflate and vanish, while new growths will be blocked.

Tetracycline derivatives minocycline and doxycycline are the preferred drugs for the treatment and management of acne rosacea. Since they are antibiotics, they possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action that eliminates papules and pustules effectively. Minocycline tops the list as the best oral medication to treat acne rosacea. That is why it is the most expensive of the lot.

Pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid tetracycline treatments by all means.



Tetracyclines are considered ‘low-risk’ bacteriostatic antibiotics. However, there have been some documented side effects. It’s better to be aware of these side effects, to anticipate them if ever they do begin to appear.

• Children under the age of 10 should not use tetracycline because it can cause permanent discoloration of the natural hue of the teeth (yellowing).

• Unborn children may experience slower bone growth. The teeth would also be affected once they are born. The discoloration phase happens during a baby’s twelfth week of life inside the womb.

Minor side effects of tetracycline are:

• Indigestion

• Abdominal upset

• Gastrointestinal irritation (severe)

• Rashes (rare, severe if they manifest)

• Phototoxic reactions (oversensitivity to sunlight)

• The increased incidence of candidal valvovaginitis

• Severe headaches

• Hives

• Drug-induced hepatitis. Yellowing of the skin, nails and eyes, known as jaundice, may also occur.

Contraindications to the tetracycline drug family are:

• Family medical history of lupus erythematosus

• Allergies to the family of drugs

If any of these are present, please consult your healthcare provider.



The following are the most commonly available tetracycline in the market today:

Generic tetracycline capsules, tablets and syrup (250 mg, 500 mg, taken twice a day)

Achromycin capsule, tablet or syrup (250 mg, 500 mg, taken twice a day)

Sumycin capsule, tablet or syrup (250 mg, 500 mg, taken twice a day)

To save on money, it is highly recommended to use generic tetracycline. Tetracycline like minocycline and doxycycline are variants that are more expensive. However, the effectiveness of generic tetracycline is not at par with doxycycline and minocycline.