Antibiotics Home > What You Need to Know About Tetracycline

How Does Tetracycline Work?

Tetracycline is part of a class of drugs called tetracyclines. It decreases bacteria's ability to make protein, which the bacteria need to live.

Effects of Tetracycline

By affecting the protein of bacteria, tetracycline helps stop bacteria from continuing to live and causing infection in the body.

When and How Do I Take It?

Tetracycline comes as a capsule, tablet, or liquid suspension. The medication is usually taken two to four times a day, depending on your healthcare provider's instructions.
You should take your dose at least one hour before or two hours after a meal.
Drink a full glass of water with each dose.
Tetracycline should be taken at the same time each day to maintain an even level in your system.
For the medication to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Make sure that you complete your entire prescription, even if you start feeling better. This will ensure that the infection is completely treated.
Never take outdated tetracycline. This can cause serious problems, as outdated medication can be toxic to the kidneys.

Dietary Considerations

There are specific dietary restrictions with tetracycline. The medication works best if taken either one hour before you eat or two hours after you have eaten. If you take it too close to meals, it will not be absorbed as well and may not produce optimum effects.

Dosing Information

The dose of tetracycline your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The medical condition you are being treated for
  • Whether you have decreased kidney function
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may be taking.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Tetracycline Dosage for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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