Minocycline is used to treat bacterial infections including pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections; acne; and infections of skin, genital, and urinary systems. It can also be used to eliminate bacteria from your nose and throat that may cause meningitis (swelling of tissues around the brain) in others, even though you may not have an infection. Minocycline is in a class of medications called tetracycline antibiotics. It works by preventing the growth and spread of bacteria. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
Minocycline comes as a regular capsule, a pellet-filled capsule, and a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken twice a day (every 12 hours) but may be taken up to four times a day. Minocycline should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Drink a full glass of water with each dose. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take minocycline exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not break, crush, or chew the regular or pellet-filled capsules; swallow them whole.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking minocycline,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline, or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take, especially acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), antacids, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), cholesterol-lowering medications (statins), ergot-type medications such as bromocriptine (Parlodel), cabergoline (Dostinex), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergoloid mesylates (Germinal, Hydergine), ergonovine (Ergotrate), ergotamine (Bellergal-S, Cafergot, Ergomar, Wigraine), methylergonovine (Methergine), methysergide (Sansert), and pergolide (Permax), iron products, isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), niacin (nicotinic acid), penicillin, and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane). Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking isotretinoin (Accutane, Sotret, others) or have recently stopped taking it. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Minocycline decreases the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives; talk to your doctor about selecting another form of birth control to use while taking this medication.
- be aware that antacids, calcium supplements, iron products, and laxatives containing magnesium interfere with minocycline, making it less effective. Take minocycline 1 hour before or 2 hours after antacids (including sodium bicarbonate), calcium supplements, and laxatives containing magnesium. Take minocycline 2 hours before or 3 hours after iron preparations and vitamin products that contain iron.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes or kidney or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking minocycline, call your doctor immediately. Minocycline can harm the fetus.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking minocycline.
- you should know that minocycline may make you lightheaded or dizzy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. These effects may go away as you continue to take minocycline and usually go away quickly when you stop taking this medication.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Minocycline may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
- you should know that when minocycline is used during pregnancy or in babies or children up to age 8, it can cause the teeth to become permanently stained. Minocycline should not be used in children under age 8 except for inhalational anthrax or if your doctor decides it is needed.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Minocycline may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- itching of the rectum or vagina
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- furry darkening or black discoloration of the tongue
- redness of the skin (sunburn)
- changes in skin color
- hearing loss or ringing in your ears
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe headache
- blurred vision
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- dark-colored urine
- light-colored bowel movements
- loss of appetite
- stomach pain
- extreme tiredness or weakness
- joint stiffness or swelling
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- decreased urination
- pain or discomfort in the mouth
- throat sores
- fever or chills
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to minocycline.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking minocycline.
If you have diabetes, minocycline can cause false results in some tests for sugar in the urine. Check with your doctor before changing your diet or the dosage of your diabetes medicine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the minocycline, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.