Minocycline

Sounds like 'min-o-sye-kleen'

Easy-to-read medicine information about minocycline – what it is, how to take minocycline safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Antibiotic (to treat infections)
  • Tetracycline antibiotic
  • Minomycin®
  • Minotabs®

What is minocycline?

  • Minocycline is part of the tetracycline group of antibiotics
  • It is a broad spectrum antibiotic often used for skin infections such as acne.
  • Minocycline hinders the growth of bacteria, and also seems to reduce inflammation which helps their action in treating acne.
  • In New Zealand, minocycline is only partially funded so you will have to pay a part-charge when collecting your script from the pharmacy.

Dose

  • The usual dose of minocycline is 100 mg once daily or 50 mg twice daily.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take minocycline

  • Take minocycline with food and a large glass of water.
  • Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking minocycline or do not take it just before bed.
  • Take minocycline at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after antacids (including sodium bicarbonate), calcium supplements, and laxatives containing magnesium.
  • Take minocycline at least 2 hours before or 3 hours after iron preparations and vitamin products that contain iron.
  • If you forget to take minocycline, take it as soon as you remember.
  • But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take it at the right time; do not take double the amount.

Special Instructions

  • Minocycline may make your skin more sensitive to the sun. You may get a burning, tingling feeling on your skin when you are in the sun, or you may notice a darker tan, or redness.
  • When outside, protect your skin and eyes by using a good sunscreen (SPF30+). a sunhat and clothing that protects you from the sun, and wearing sunglasses.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, minocycline can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • Take minocycline after a meal.
  • Diarrhoea (loose, watery stools)
  • These may go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Vaginal itching, soreness or discharge (thrush)
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of the lips, face, and mouth or difficulty breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.

Interactions

  • Minocycline interacts with a number of medications including antacids, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), and some vitamins.
  • If you are taking the contraceptive pill (birth control pill), it may become less effective while you are taking minocycline. Consider using a barrier form of birth control such as condoms, or diaphragms.
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr Janine Bycroft, GP, Health Navigator NZ