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Back to Infections Drug Index

Back to Tetracyclines

Tetracycline hydrochloride

Achromycin Ophthalmic, Achromycin V, Nor-Tet, Panmycin, Robitet, Sumycin, Tetracap, Tetralan, Tetram, Topicycline

Pregnancy Category D

Drug classes


Mechanism of action
Bacteriostatic: inhibits protein synthesis of susceptible bacteria, preventing cell replication.


Systemic Administration

  • Infections caused by rickettsiae; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; agents of psittacosis, ornithosis, lymphogranuloma venereum and granuloma inguinale; Borrelia recurrentis, Haemophilus ducreyi, Pasteurella pestis, Pasteurella tularensis, Bartonella bacilliformis, Bacteroides, Vibrio comma, Vibrio fetus, Brucella, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Shigella, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella, Diplococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus
  • When penicillin is contraindicated, infections caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Treponema pallidum, Treponema pertenue, Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium, Bacillus anthracis, Fusobacterium fusiforme, Actinomyces, Neisseria meningitidis
  • Adjunct to amebicides in acute intestinal amebiasis
  • Treatment of acne (oral)
  • Uncomplicated urethral, endocervical or rectal infections in adults caused by Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Instilled in a chest tube, unlabeled use: pleural sclerosing agent in malignant pleural effusions

Ophthalmic Administration

  • Treatment of superficial ocular infections due to susceptible strains of microorganisms (ophthalmic preparations)
  • Prophylaxis of ophthalmia neonatorum due to N. gonorrrhoeae or C.

Topical Administration

  • Treatment of acne vulgaris (topical dermatologic solution)
  • Treatment and prophylaxis of minor skin infections due to susceptible organisms (topical dermatologic ointment)


Systemic administration and dermatologic solution:

  • Contraindicated in the presence of allergy to any of the tetracyclines; allergy to tartrazine (in 250-mg tetracycline capsules marketed under brand name Panmycin); pregnancy (toxic to the fetus); lactation (causes damage to the teeth of infant).
  • Use caution in the presence of hepatic or renal dysfunction.

Ophthalmic preparations:

  • Contraindicated in the presence of ocular viral, mycobacterial or fungal infections.

Use caution in the presence of renal dysfunction, seizures.

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Adverse effects 

Systemic Administration

  • GI: Discoloring and inadequate calcification of primary teeth of fetus if used by pregnant women, discoloring and inadequate calcification of permanent teeth if used during period of dental development, fatty liver, liver failure, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, glossitis, dysphagia, enterocolitis, esophageal ulcers
  • Hematologic: Hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, eosinophilia, leukocytosis, leukopenia
  • Dermatologic: Phototoxic reactions, rash, exfoliative dermatitis
  • Hypersensitivity: Reactions from urticaria to anaphylaxis, including intracranial hypertension
  • Other: Superinfections, local irritation at parenteral injection sites

Ophthalmic Preparations

  • Local: Transient irritation, stinging, itching, angioneurotic edema, urticaria, dermatitis, superinfections

Topical Dermatologic Solutions

  • Local: Stinging, burning during application; skin irritation; dermatitis; yellowing of areas of application

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