Acne treatment Acne treatment

Oxytetracycline As an Acne Antibiotic

Oxytetracycline As an Acne Antibiotic Oxytetracycline As an Acne Antibiotic


Tetracycline antibiotics such as oxytetracycline are commonly prescribed as an effective acne treatment. Oxytetracycline is available in generic form and as the brand Terramycin. Physicians prescribe oxytetracycline for moderately severe to severe acne which has not responded to topical treatment. They also sometimes prescribe oxytetracycline as beginning therapy for severe acne, including cystic acne.


Acne typically begins with overactive sebaceous glands secreting excessive oil onto the skin. The oil prevents dead skin cells from shedding, which then accumulate and lead to pore blockages. Blocked pores create a favorable environment for bacteria that cause acne, and also can become inflamed. Oxytetracycline works against acne by preventing bacterial growth and reducing inflammation.

Time Frame

It may take up to four weeks before you notice skin improvement when using oxytetracycline, according to Standard Life Health Care. Once your physician determines that you've achieved maximum results, you'll need to continue with topical treatment as long as is necessary. Maximum results with oxytetracycline can take several months to occur.


You should take oxytetracycline on an empty stomach because food decreases its absorption. The medicine then may not be as effective at eliminating your acne. You may take oxytetracycline with a small amount of food if the medicine is causing stomach upset, but be sure not to take it with dairy products or foods containing iron, as these can completely prevent absorption. Oxytetracycline should be taken with plenty of water to stop the tablet from sticking in the throat.

Common Side Effects

Extra sensitivity to ultraviolet light is a common side effect of oxytetracycline, so you should protect your skin from sunlight and avoid using tanning beds while taking the medicine. Other common side effects usually fade after a short time. They may include lack of appetite, indigestion, nausea and throat irritation.


Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should not take oxytetracycline because it can cause birth defects and harm a developing baby. Oxytetracycline, like other tetracycline antibiotics, can lead to severe colitis because it kills friendly bacteria in the intestines. Other possible but rare side effects include raised pressure within the skull, inflammation of the pancreas, liver disorders or blood disorders.

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