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Information about Tetracycline
Tetracycline is an oral, broad-spectrum antibiotic used to treat mild-to-moderate infections due to susceptible microbial organisms.
Liver safety of Tetracycline
High doses of several forms of tetracycline given intravenously have been associated with acute fatty liver that can be severe and result in liver failure and death. Oral tetracycline use has been rarely and not very convincingly linked to acute hepatic injury.
Mechanism of action of Tetracycline
Tetracycline is an oral, broad-spectrum antibiotic and semisynthetic derivative of Streptomyces actinobacteria. Tetracycline acts by inhibition of protein synthesis by binding to the 30S subunit of microbial ribosomes. Human cells are less susceptible to this inhibition.
FDA approval information for Tetracycline
Tetracycline was first approved for use in the United States in 1957 and was one of several oral tetracyclines used at that time (oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline), many of which are no longer available or are used in veterinary medicine only. More modern forms of tetracycline include doxycycline and minocycline which are much more commonly used and have similar indications.
Clinical use of Tetracycline
Currently, tetracycline is most frequently used for upper respiratory and skin and soft tissue infection and more than 2 million prescriptions are filled yearly. Chronic therapy with tetracycline is effective in ameliorating acne, but because of their better absorption and tissue penetration, minocycline and doxycycline have largely replaced tetracycline for this indication.
Tetracycline is also active against infections with several rickettsial, spirochetal, chlamydial and mycoplasmas infections and are often used for therapy of nonspecific urethritis and several Rickettsia diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
Dosage and administration for Tetracycline
Tetracycline is available in multiple generic forms as capsules or tablets of 250 and 500 mg and generally recommended in doses of 250 to 500 mg three to four times daily for 7 to 30 days. Chronic therapy is typical for therapy of acne. Pediatric formulations as oral suspension are also available. Parenteral tetracycline is no longer used.
Side effects of Tetracycline
Common side effects include gastrointestinal upset, nausea, poor appetitle, diarrhea, glossitis, rash and hypersensitivity reactions. Tetracycline can cause staining of developing teeth (in children or when taken by a pregnant mother). List of tetracyclines