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Tetracyclines - is a group of broad-spectrum antibiotics, in other words - active against many species of bacteria. They penetrate well into organs and tissues, as well as into the central nervous system after oral administration, which is important in the treatment of, for example, the well-known Lyme disease.

Tetracyclinesare available in pharmacies in the following forms: cream, ointment, gel or oral tablets, as well as solution for infusion. In combination with other medicinal substances, tetracyclines are also available in the form of an aerosol for external application, i.e. directly on the skin.

How do tetracyclines work?

The mechanism of action of these antibiotics is to inhibit the biosynthesis processes, i.e. the formation of proteins in bacterial cells. Since this process inhibits cell growth rather than killing it, tetracyclines are said to be bacteriostatic antibiotics, not bactericidal antibiotics.

The use of tetracyclines in medicine

Tetracyclines are most often used in cases such as:

  • common acne, maculopapular acne, rosacea
  • bacterial infections of the tonsils, throat, middle ear, sinuses, bronchi, lungs
  • bladder infections and urethritis
  • gonorrhea, syphilis, Hodgkin
  • skin and soft tissue infections
  • gastrointestinal infections - e.g. cholera, travelers' diarrhea
  • chronic conjunctivitis
  • parrot, brucellosis, plague, tularemia and malaria

Are tetracyclines always effective?

When prescribing tetracycline antibiotics, the doctor is not always sure that they will work. For an antibiotic to be effective, two conditions must be met: first, its concentration at the site of infection must be such as to inhibit the growth (or in the case of antibiotics from other groups to kill) of the pathogenic microorganism, but at the same time it must be safe for humans. cells.

Only if they are met, the antibiotic works effectively and it can be concluded that the given bacterium is susceptible to the antibiotic. Otherwise, the so-called antibiotic resistance - also known as when the antibiotic stops working effectivelyeliminate a certain type of bacteria, even though it was easy to deal with before.

This situation is a great threat for patients: an untreated bacterial infection (or treated, but insufficiently or ineffectively) can spread to other organs, which in extreme cases can even threaten the patient's life.

Tetracyclines - interactions

Tetracyclines, like all medications, may interact with other medications, herbal remedies, and even food.

That is why it is so important to inform the doctor about all preparations taken in parallel, even those available without a prescription, and to follow the recommendations on how and when to take the drug.

Tetracycline antibiotics can bind with divalent and trivalent metal ions (eg calcium, iron, aluminum and magnesium s alts). In this case, they completely or partially lose their healing effect, because they are not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

For this reason, when using antibiotics from the tetracycline group, you should carefully look at your diet and avoid eating large amounts of dairy products and foods rich in iron, calcium, aluminum, zinc and magnesium - these minerals can reduce the absorption of tetracyclines and weaken treatment effects.

If it is impossible to change the diet, foods rich in these substances should be eaten a few hours after taking the antibiotic so that it can be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

It is also worth remembering that:

  • tetracyclines can reduce the effectiveness of contraceptives, and for this reason, additional non-hormonal contraception should be used during antibiotic therapy and a week after the end of treatment,
  • may also increase the toxic effects of some strong medicinal substances (see the leaflet for each antibiotic for details), and increase the nephrotoxic and hepatotoxic effects of other medications.

Note !!!
It is important to remember that urine tests should not be tested for glucose, urobilinogen, protein or catecholamines while using tetracyclines - tetracyclines can falsify these results.

Tetracycline side effects

After taking tetracyclines, side effects may occur. Its most common side effects are gastrointestinal complaints, such as:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • stomach ache

They are usually mild and often disappear soon after treatment is completed.

However, in order to alleviate these ailments, it is worth taking antibiotic therapytake products that restore the proper bacterial flora, i.e. probiotics. You should only remember to take them about 2 hours after the administration of the antibiotic.

In addition, the following may occur:

  • puffiness
  • inflammation
  • rashes and other skin lesions
  • conjunctivitis
  • temperature increase

The use of tetracyclines sensitizes the skin to UV rays, therefore, during the treatment with tetracyclines, you should not stay in the sun (this also applies to solariums) - otherwise, the skin may be difficult to remove discoloration.

Other possible side effects include:

  • hepatotoxicity - manifested by jaundice and an increase in the concentration of liver enzymes,
  • effects on bone marrow - can affect the bone marrow causing aplastic anemia,
  • can increase intracranial pressure in infants,
  • are teratogenic and therefore absolutely contraindicated during pregnancy,
  • Fanconi syndrome - it occurs in children given expired, poorly stored tetracyclines. Under the influence of light, air and moisture, these drugs break down, producing harmful compounds that mainly damage the kidneys. This syndrome can occur even one month after the last dose of the drug.

During administration of tetracyclines, liver function should be monitored regularly, and renal function and blood counts should be monitored. If necessary, the doctor may modify the dose or completely change the preparation. However, keep in mind that you must not do this on your own.

Tetracycline overdose

In the event of an overdose and the appearance of any disturbing symptoms, discontinue the drug immediately, see a doctor and proceed to actions aimed at removing the drug substance that has not yet been absorbed from the body as soon as possible.

For this purpose it is possible to induce vomiting, gastric lavage - but only in conscious patients, and oral administration of activated charcoal, milk or antacids.

These substances cannot be removed from the body by hemodialysis.

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