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Discharge Instructions: Taking Antibiotics—Tetracyclines

Your doctor prescribed a tetracycline antibiotic for you. Tetracycline antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in many parts of the body. These antibiotics can also be used to treat some diseases.

The name of your antibiotic is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Don’t share this medication with anyone.

  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you:

    • Are taking any other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medications

    • Have other health problems

    • Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant

    • Have had an allergic reaction to any medication or food

  • Take your medication exactly as directed. 

  • Don’t stop taking your medication until it is all gone—even if you feel better. If you don’t take it all, your symptoms may return and may be harder to treat.

  • Take your medication with a full glass of water. Take it at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating food, using antacids, or drinking milk.

  • Take your doses at evenly spaced times throughout the day and night. This keeps an even amount of medication in your blood.

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember—unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the dose you missed. Don’t take a double dose.

  • Don’t share your medication with anyone.

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking a tetracycline before any type of medical procedure.

  • If you become pregnant, stop taking the tetracycline and call your doctor.

  • Don’t use a sunlamp. Protect your skin while in the sun. This medication makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. When outside, wear a hat, sunglasses, and a sunblock with at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication until your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include:

  • Mild stomach cramps

  • Stomach burning

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Severe diarrhea

  • Itching around your rectum or vagina

  • Soreness in your mouth

  • Skin rash or itching




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