Minocycline for Acne

Minocycline (Solodyn) has a long history of use in treating acne vulgaris. This antibiotic is most commonly used in the treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory acne, and is particularly useful for pustular type acne. Minocycline is generally reserved for people who do not respond to or cannot use other treatments.

Minocycline is highly lipid-soluble and achieves good penetration into the lipid-rich sebaceous tissues. Also, it is not phototoxic. In some clinical studies minocycline was found to be more effective than tetracycline against inflammatory lesions1.

Minocycline dosage for acne: 50 mg once or twice daily; or 100 mg once or twice daily. Improvement can be expected after 6 weeks of use. It is important to reinforce that treatment will be slow. Treatment usually lasts for three to six months.

What is Solodyn® ?

Solodyn® is a slow-release formulation of minocycline specifically indicated for acne vulgaris only. Solodyn works for inflammatory non-nodular acne lesions - red, pus-filled pimples and papules. It won't improve non-inflammatory acne like blackheads and whiteheads.

Is Minocycline the best antibiotic for acne?

Minocycline is often used in the belief that it is more effective than other similar antibiotics, especially with respect to resistant Propionibacterium acnes.

Although minocycline is a very effective for moderate to moderately-severe acne vulgaris, there was no evidence that it is better than other tetracyclines 2. Moreover, it has a greater tendency than other antibiotics to cause serious side effects, including serum-sickness-like reactions, lupus erythematosus, and autoimmune hepatitis.

Considering the safety issues and availability of less expensive and effective alternatives, minocycline is no longer considered the first-line antibacterial in the treatment of acne3.

See also


  • 1. Hubbell CG, Hobbs ER, Rist T, White JW Jr. Efficacy of minocycline compared with tetracycline in treatment of acne vulgaris. Arch Dermatol. 1982 Dec;118(12):989-92.
  • 2. Garner SE, Eady A, Bennett C, Newton JN, Thomas K, Popescu CM. Minocycline for acne vulgaris: efficacy and safety. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Aug 15;8:CD002086.
  • 3. Ochsendorf F. Minocycline in acne vulgaris: benefits and risks. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2010;11(5):327-41. PubMed

Author: OriginalDrugs Team
Last reviewed: February, 2015

Quick facts

  • The more lipophilic antibiotics, such minocycline, are generally more effective.