Cycline for Acne
Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, can present major frustration. If you have zits, it may seem like you manage to clear one batch up only to see more form in their place. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you may need more than just over-the-counter acne-fighting products to clear your face if you have the large red pimples that indicate inflammatory acne. You may need oral antibiotics such as those from the cycline family to fight the infection.
Non-inflammatory acne generally involves just whiteheads and blackheads, along with some small bumps called pustules, which appear on the skin's surface, according to the AAD. But when bacteria begins to grow below your blocked pores, these bumps grow and often develop white, pus-filled centers--the start of inflammatory acne. Without clearing the bacterial infection, you'll have trouble clearing your skin. That's where cyclines come in.
The cycline family of antibiotics, which includes tetracycline, minocycline, oxytetracycline, lymecycline and doxycycline, tend to work well to treat the bacterial infection common in acne. According to the AAD, dermatologists prescribe doxycycline and minocycline most frequently to treat acne. You'll probably start with a high dose--perhaps as high as 1,000 milligrams each day in divided doses--and then taper down as your acne begins to clear.
Potential Side Effects
Cycline antibiotics can cause side effects, some of which can be serious, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some people are allergic to cyclines and can develop a serious reaction, including hives, difficulty breathing, pale skin and dizziness. If this happens to you, contact your physician immediately. Other possible side effects include stomach and intestinal problems such as diarrhea and nausea. Also, cyclines can increase your sensitivity to the sun's ultraviolet rays, so be sure to wear sun protection.
Physicians have used cyclines for decades to treat infected acne, and medical research backs their use. In one recent study, reported in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology in 2005, researchers compared doxycycline and azithromycin, another type of antibiotic, in 51 acne patients. They concluded that both drugs worked well over the course of three months to reduce acne lesions. Two patients who took doxycycline developed sun sensitivity.
Since physicians began to use oral antibiotics more frequently to treat inflammatory acne, some strains of acne-causing bacteria have become resistant to cyclines and other types of antibiotics commonly used, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of this, you may find your acne doesn't respond well to cycline treatment, or that it responds initially, but then the drug stops working and your acne returns. However, minocycline seems to produce fewer cases of antibiotic resistance and may work better for you, according to the AAD.
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