Tetracycline Side Effects
Common tetracycline side effects may include stomach cramps, diarrhea, skin reactions to sunlight, and fever. There are also some side effects that can indicate something serious. A few of these serious side effects of tetracycline include blurred vision, unusual headaches, and watery diarrhea. Some side effects that occur rarely (in less than 1 percent of people) include allergic reactions, hair loss, and irritation of the esophagus.
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with tetracycline (sold as generic Tetracycline tablets or capsules, or under a variety of brand names, including Sumycin®, Achromycin®, and Wesmycin®). Yet not everyone who takes tetracycline will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the medicine well. When people do develop tetracycline side effects, in most cases they are minor, meaning they require no treatment or are easily treated by your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects of tetracycline. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of tetracycline side effects with you.)
Tetracycline has been studied extensively in clinical trials, with thousands of people worldwide having been evaluated. In these studies, side effects occurring in a group of people taking the drug were documented and compared to the side effects that occurred in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred, how often they appeared, and how they compared to the group not taking the medicine.
In these studies, the most common side effects with tetracycline included:
- Skin reactions to sunlight (photosensitivity)
- Upset stomach (dyspepsia)
- Lack of appetite
- Unexplained rash
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Itchy skin.