What are the Most Common Uses for Tetracycline Hydrochloride?

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  • Written By: Misty Wiser
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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The most common use for tetracycline hydrochloride is the treatment of bacterial infections. Tetracycline hydrochloride is a broad spectrum antibiotic effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacterium. This antibiotic inhibits protein synthesis in bacterium. It also is often used in bone biopsies as an indicator of bone growth.

Many different infections respond well to treatment with the antibiotic tetracycline. It is prescribed for upper and lower respiratory tract infections. This medication is successfully used for the treatment of skin infections not caused by staphylococcal bacteria. Rocky Mountain spotted fever and cholera are common infections successfully treated with tetracycline hydrochloride. Treatment with tetracycline has cured anthrax infections as well.

Tetracycline also is prescribed to treat some venereal diseases. For example, it is used to treat chlamydia infections of the eyes, urinary tract, and the rectum. At times, tetracycline is prescribed for patients who are unable to take penicillin to treat a serious infection. A person with syphilis or gonorrhea also may be prescribed tetracycline as an alternative antibiotic to penicillin.

The medication is also used as a topical application for the treatment of severe acne. It is applied to the face until the skin is saturated and wet. The topical antibiotic can clear up acne for some people who have not responded to other types of treatment.


Tetracycline hydrochloride side effects are varied. Most people report nausea and vomiting when first beginning the medication. A loss of appetite and abdominal pain are also commonly noticed. Diarrhea and loose, bulky bowel movements are often a side effect of the medicine. Rarely, a patient reports the development of a hairy black tongue.

Other side effects commonly attributed to tetracycline are persistent headaches and dizziness. Some people experience sensitivity to light or the development of a rash. The topical form of the medicine has been known to cause a stinging sensation when applied, and it has caused the skin of some people to become yellowish in color. Tetracycline hydrochloride also can cause the permanent discoloration of teeth in children under the age of eight who have taken the medicine. Adults may notice the erosion of tooth enamel after taking the antibiotic as well.

The medicine is known to pass through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, and it is secreted in breast milk. As such, tetracycline hydrochloride is not recommended to treat infections in pregnant women or nursing mothers. Children born to mothers who have taken the medication during pregnancy have been reported to have grayish-colored teeth as they grow older.


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Post 3

@fify-- Yep, acne is one of the most common tetracycline hydrochloride uses. It actually works for most skin bacterial infections. I also remember taking it once for a sinus infection.

The one type of infection it doesn't work for is yeast infections like candida. My sister once took tetracycline when she had a yeast infection thinking that it will treat it and it made her condition worse. So she found out the hard way what tetracycline can't be used for.

Post 2

@fify-- Yes, tetracyclines are frequently prescribed for skin conditions like acne and rosacea. I was on it for a while for acne. It was working for me, my cystic acne was getting better. But I had to stop taking the antibiotic because it started to stain my teeth. This is one of the potential side effects of tetracycline group drugs. My doctor switched me to a different antibiotic.

Post 1

Can I use tetracycline hcl for acne and rosacea?

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