Tetracycline for Acne

Tetracycline is one of the most effective antibiotics for acne treatment in adults and teenagers. It penetrates the follicle and sebaceous gland well and decreases colonization by P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne. Also, it has intrinsic anti-inflammatory effect.

Tetracycline is particularly useful for inflammatory acne (papules, pustules, and nodules) and for patients presenting acne lesions on the back, chest, and shoulders.

Tetracycline dosage for acne: 250 to 500 mg twice daily.

How long to take Tetracycline for acne? Antibiotic should be continued for at least 12 weeks or until acne is cleared. Low-dose tetracycline may be continued for many months to keep acne under control.

How long does it take for Tetracycline to improve acne? It may take from 4 to 8 weeks to notice an improvement. The acne usually markedly improves within 12 weeks2.


See also


  • 1. Cunliffe WJ, Forster RA, Greenwood ND, et al. Tetracycline and acne vulgaris: a clinical and laboratory investigation. Br Med J. 1973 Nov 10;4(5888):332-5. PubMed
  • 2. Gammon WR, Meyer C, Lantis S, Shenefelt P, Reizner G, Cripps DJ. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986 Feb;14(2 Pt 1):183-6.

Author: OriginalDrugs Team
Last reviewed: February, 2015

Quick facts

  • Topical tetracycline (Achromycin, Topicycline) was the first topical antibiotic approved for the treatment of acne. However, its use has been limited because of the skin penetration problems.