Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Tetracycline


Last updated on 18/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Tetracycline


BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Medocycline, Nice-tetra, Tetracap 

DRUG CLASS: Antibiotic (tetracycline derivative) 

USED FOR: Bacterial infections, acne, rosacea 

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: Doxycycline, Minocycline, Oxytetracycline

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS: 250mg, 300mg (capsules)

What is Tetracycline for?

Tetracycline is an antibiotic for treating a wide range of bacterial infections, including but not limited to the following:
– Rosacea
– Periodontitis
– Other susceptible infections (e.g. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia, Rickettsia)

How to use it?

Tetracycline can be taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or given by injection. Ideally it should be taken on an empty stomach to optimize absorption. However, stomach upset is a common side effect, so tetracycline can be taken with food. Do not take at the same time as dairy products and minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron, as this reduces absorption of tetracycline into the body.

The oral dosages for different uses and age groups are listed below: 

For rosacea
500 mg twice daily for 6-12 weeks and the treatment course may be repeated intermittently. 

For acne
Adult  / Child 12-17 years
500 mg twice daily for 3 months. Another antibiotic should be used if there are no benefits after 3 months. The maximum benefits usually occur after 4-6 months and may up to 2 years or longer in severe cases. Doses can be reduced gradually to 250 mg per day once improvement is seen.

For other susceptible infections
Adult / Child 12-17 years
250 mg 4 times daily and may increase up to 500 mg 3-4 times daily in severe cases.

What are the side effects of Tetracycline?

The most common side effect of Tetracycline is gastrointestinal including stomach pain, diarrhoea, and nausea and vomiting. Tetracycline can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight. In children and infants, tetracycline can cause staining of teeth in children and infants.

Who should not take Tetracycline?

– People who are allergic to Tetracycline or any formulation component
– Children under 12 years

Pharmacist Tips:

– Tetracycline may cause photosensitivity. Avoid sunbeds and prolonged exposure to sunlight. You are advised to use sunscreen.
– Avoid dairy products and preparations containing Aluminium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium or Zinc, including antacids. Take them at least 1-2 hours before or 4 hours after Tetracycline. 

Common dosing schedule:
You should take Tetracycline on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after food). Take with food if it causes stomach upset.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Tetracycline may interact with:
– Alcohol
– Antacids, e.g. Aluminium Hydroxide, Calcium Carbonate
– Multivitamins / mineral supplements that contain Calcium, Iron or Magnesium

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Tetracycline in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Tetracycline is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Tetracycline in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.