What is Tetracycline?

Common Brand(s): Sumycin

Tetracycline is used to treat a wide variety of infections, including acne. It is an antibiotic that works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

This antibiotic treats only bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Using any antibiotic when it is not needed can cause it to not work for future infections.

Tetracycline can also be used in combination with anti-ulcer medications to treat certain types of stomach ulcers.


  • plague
  • tularemia
  • anthrax
  • brucellosis
  • actinomycosis
  • psittacosis
  • trachoma
  • inclusion conjunctivitis caused by Chlamydia trachomatis
  • chlamydial infections
  • typhus infections
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Q fever
  • rickettsialpox
  • chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria
  • malaria
  • relapsing fever
  • syphilis
  • lymphogranuloma venereum
  • granuloma inguinale
  • rectal Chlamydia trachomatis infection
  • genitourinary Chlamydia trachomatis infection
  • yaws
  • ocular rosacea
  • acute bacterial otitis media
  • pharyngitis
  • sinusitis
  • mycoplasmal pneumonia
  • pneumonia
  • gingivostomatitis
  • peptic ulcer due to H. pylori
  • Helicobacter pylori gastritis
  • infectious disease of abdomen
  • biliary tract infection
  • female urethral syndrome
  • sexually transmitted epididymo-orchitis
  • inflammatory disease of female pelvic organs
  • skin and skin structure infection
  • acne rosacea
  • acne vulgaris
  • bacterial urinary tract infection
  • tropical sprue

Usage Instructions

Tetracycline works best when taken on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. If stomach upset occurs, ask your doctor if you can take this medication with food. Take each dose with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking this medication. For this reason, do not take it right before bedtime.

Take this medication 2-3 hours before or after taking any products containing magnesium, aluminum, or calcium. Some examples include antacids, quinapril, certain forms of didanosine (chewable/dispersible buffered tablets or pediatric oral solution), vitamins/minerals, and sucralfate. Follow the same instructions with dairy products (e.g., milk, yogurt), calcium-enriched juice, bismuth subsalicylate, iron, and zinc. These products bind with tetracycline, preventing its full absorption.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. For use in children older than 8 years of age, the dosage is also based on weight.

For the best effect, take this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time(s) every day.

Continue to take this medication until the full-prescribed amount is finished even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a relapse of the infection.

Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.


Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light, moisture, and excessive heat. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Taking outdated tetracycline can result in serious illness. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.