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Pronounced: TET-ra-SY-clin
Generic name: Achromycin V, Sumycin

Why is this drug prescribed: Tetracycline, a "broad-spectrum" antibiotic, is used to treat bacterial infections such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus fever, and tick fevers; upper respiratory infections; pneumonia; gonorrhea; amoebic infections; and urinary tract infections. It is also used to help treat severe acne and to treat trachoma (a chronic eye infection) and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Tetracycline is often an alternative drug for people who are allergic to penicillin.

Most important fact about this drug: Tetracycline should not be used during the last half of pregnancy or in children under the age of 8. It may damage developing teeth and cause permanent discoloration.

How should you take this medication: Tetracycline should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Be sure to use the entire prescription. If you are taking a liquid form of the drug, shake well before using. Do not use outdated tetracycline. Outdated tetracycline is highly toxic to the kidneys. Do not take antacids containing aluminum, calcium, or magnesium (e.g., Mylanta, Maalox) while taking this medication. They will affect the absorption of the drug. Take tetracycline 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Foods, milk, and some other dairy products affect absorption of the drug. Tetracycline should be continued for at least 24 to 48 hours after your symptoms have subsided. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose and you take tetracycline once a day (e.g., for acne), take the dose you missed, and then take the next one 10 to 12 hours later; if you take it twice a day, take the dose you missed, and then take the next one 5 to 6 hours later; if you take 3 or more doses a day, take the one you missed, and then take the next one 2 to 4 hours later. Then go back to your regular schedule. --Storage instructions... Store capsules at room temperature. Keep the liquid form of tetracycline in the refrigerator, but do not allow it to freeze.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any occur or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking tetracycline. More common side effects may include: Anemia, blood disorders, blurred vision and headache (in adults), bulging soft spot on the head (in infants), diarrhea, difficult or painful swallowing, dizziness, extreme allergic reactions, genital or anal sores or rash, hives, inflammation of large bowel, inflammation of the tongue, inflammation of the upper digestive tract, increased sensitivity to light, loss of appetite, nausea, rash, ringing in the ears, swelling due to fluid accumulation, vision disturbance, vomiting Less common or rare side effects may include: Inflamed skin, inflammation of the penis, liver poisoning, muscle weakness, peeling, skin eruptions, throat sores and inflammation

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take this medication if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to any tetracycline medication.

Special warnings about this medication: If you have kidney disease, make sure the doctor knows about it. A lower than usual dose of tetracycline may be needed. Tetracycline drugs can make you more prone to sunburn when you are in sunlight or ultraviolet light. Take appropriate precautions. Some adults may develop a headache and blurred vision while taking tetracycline, and infants may develop a bulging soft spot on the head. Contact your doctor if you experience or notice these symptoms. They usually disappear soon after the medication is stopped. As with other antibiotics, use of this medication may cause other infections to develop. Contact your doctor if this occurs. If you are taking tetracycline over an extended period of time, your doctor will perform blood, kidney, and liver tests periodically.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If tetracycline is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining tetracycline with the following: Antacids containing aluminum, calcium, or magnesium, such as Mylanta and Maalox Blood thinners such as Coumadin Oral contraceptives Penicillin (Amoxil, Pen-Vee K, others)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: Tetracycline is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It can affect the development of the unborn child's bones and teeth. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Tetracycline appears in breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may recommend that you stop breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage: Your doctor will adjust your dose on the basis of the condition to be treated, your age, and risk factors such as kidney problems. You should use this drug for at least 24 to 48 hours after symptoms and fever have subsided. For a streptococcal infection, doses should be taken for at least 10 days. ADULTS: For most infections, the usual daily dose is 1 to 2 grams divided into 2 or 4 equal doses, depending on severity. For treatment of brucellosis The usual dose is 500 milligrams 4 times daily for 3 weeks; the drug should be accompanied by streptomycin. For treatment of syphilis You should take a total of 30 to 40 grams, divided into equal doses over a period of 10 to 15 days. Gonorrhea patients sensitive to penicillin can take tetracycline, starting with 1.5 grams, followed by 0.5 gram every 6 hours for 4 days, to a total dosage of 9 grams. For urethral, endocervical, or rectal infections in adults caused by Chlamydia trachomatis The usual dose is 500 milligrams, 4 times a day, for at least 7 days. CHILDREN 8 YEARS OF AGE AND ABOVE: The usual daily dose is 10 to 20 milligrams per pound of body weight divided into 2 or 4 equal doses.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect an overdose of tetracycline.

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