Antibiotics Review Part 3: What is Tetracycline?

For individuals who are prone to acne eruptions, tetracycline is quite a familiar ingredient in their daily skin care routine. Tetracycline is a type of antibiotic medication that is used to treat some bacterial infections, which includes acne.

Tetracycline primarily works to cease the growth and the worsening of bacteria; this type of antibiotic can only ward off bacterial infections and is not applicable for infections caused by viruses.

Remembering Tetracycline

Antibiotic medications have numerous classes; therefore, remembering each antibiotic can be taxing. But there are ingenious ways on recalling each antibiotic type, or any subject or topic for that matter, then, by all means, stick to those ways. There are no rules regarding studying.

With tetracycline, you only have to associate the medication to cycling or someone riding a bicycle. That said, here are the hints that will help you get through with your tetracycline review.

  1. Tetracycline causes photosensitivity.

Going back to cycling, when a biker is out in the sun, it is expected that the person will get sunburned; same with tetracycline. Clients who take tetracycline will experience a breakdown in bacteria which then directly affects the skin’s epithelium. That said, clients should limit their exposure to the sun while taking tetracycline.

  1. Tetracycline causes teeth stains.

Tooth discoloration with yellowish stains is another side effect that manifests with tetracycline administration. To relate this to the cyclist analogy, when a person goes on a motorcycle or a bicycle, bugs tend to hit the windshield, or their helmets, or even the teeth, causing stains.

  1. Tetracycline without food.

Cycling is a rigorous sport that should not be done in a full stomach. Therefore, eating before working out is not allowed to avoid throwing up. This is the same with tetracycline – it should not be taken with food and milk. The best time to take tetracycline is before meals, preferably an hour or two before eating.

Other Side Effects

Side effects are essential with client teaching. While the above-mentioned side effects are common with tetracycline medications, other mild side effects can occur while taking the drug, namely:

  • Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting,
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Sore throat
  • Discomfort around the rectal area

On the other hand, the serious side effects that require immediate medical attention are the following:

  • Muscle pain
  • Painful and difficulty swallowing
  • Discoloration of the nails
  • Decreased urine output (a common sign of kidney affectation)
  • Tingling or numbness of the extremities
  • Allergic reaction


So, tetracycline is an antibiotic drug primarily given to clients with bacterial infections, which includes acne eruptions not only on the face but on various places of the body. Clients who are taking the drug should not be exposed to sunlight, will have tooth stains, and should take the pill at least an hour before meals.

For our next antibiotic lesson, we’ll tackle fluoroquinolones which includes medications like Ciprofloxacin. We have another fun way of remembering Ciprofloxacin through Cipro de Mayo. To know more about fluoroquinolones and Cipro de Mayo, check out our Simple Nursing website and YouTube channel.