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Minocycline hydrochloride, often referred to as minocycline HCl, is a drug prescribed to treat bacterial infections. It is derived from tetracycline, a drug known to be effective in treating many diseases caused by bacteria. The most common uses for minocycline hydrochloride includes treatment of infections brought about by Gram-negative bacteria and by Gram-positive bacteria. This drug usually comes in 50-milligram (mg) tablets, 100-mg tablets and 75-mg tablets, which should be taken by mouth.
Gram-positive bacteria are a class of micro-organisms that test positive during Gram-staining laboratory tests. These include Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus, which leads to skin infections. Other diseases caused by Gram-positive bacteria that also respond to minocycline hydrochloride treatment are anthrax and listeriosis.
Anthrax is a deadly infection usually contracted by individuals who have been exposed to infected animals. Listeriosis is usually contracted by eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. It often results in muscle weakness, diarrhea, and, when severe, headaches and convulsions.
The Gram-negative bacteria are those that test negative on Gram-stain tests. Several diseases caused by these types of bacteria are often treated effectively with minocycline hydrochloride. Examples of these infections are typhus fever, Q fever, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which are mostly caused by different subgroups of Rickettsia. Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, chancroid, and gonorrhea also often respond well to this medication. Cholera, which causes diarrhea and vomiting, is often contracted through contaminated food and water, and also can be treated with this drug.
Other uses of minocycline hydrochloride are in the treatment of intestinal amoebiasis and severe acne. Amoebiasis is commonly caused by eating foods and drinking water that have come in contact with the stools of infected individuals. In both acne and ameobiasis, minocycline hydrochloride is sometimes given along with another drug.
Minocycline hydrochloride mostly acts to interrupt the bacteria's ability to grow and reproduce inside the body. It affects protein synthesis, which is needed by bacteria for these processes. Patients are often advised to take these antibiotics as directed and not to stop, even when already feeling well. Doing so can frequently lead to decreased effectiveness of the drug and in the development of drug resistance in many bacteria. Minocycline hydrochloride side effects include diarrhea, acute kidney problem, and yellow discoloration of teeth when given to children younger than eight years old.