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Tetracyclines (Class)

Tetracyclines (Class)

Generic and Trade Names:

DoxycyclineDoryx, Vivox
Tetracycline Achromycin-V, Sumycin


The Tetracyclines class of antibiotics are used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections as well as acne.

Tetracyclines act to inhibit bacteria from synthesizing essential proteins. Three examples of these drugs are: doxycycline (Sumycin, Vibramycin), oxytetracycline, and tetracycline.

Nutritional Considerations:

Take medication one hour before or two hours after food or milk. (Facts and Comparisons 1999)

Drink plenty of fluids unless otherwise directed . (Pronsky 1999)

Vitamin C requirements increase with tetracyclines. (McKevoy 1998)

There is a tendency for the drug to bind with minerals i.e. chelation of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc. (Pronsky 1999)

Vitamin K may also become depleted. (Pronsky 1999)

Yogurt can reduce the effectiveness of tetracyclines. (McKevoy 1998)

Some B-complex vitamins may become depleted with prolonged use: pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin and vitamin B-12. (Pronsky 1999)

Caution is needed with Vitamin A supplements due to an increased risk of benign intracranial hypertension. (Pronsky 1999)

Herbal Considerations:

Bromelain increases tetracycline levels in plasma and urine. (Blumenthal 1998)

Cardiac glycoside-containing herbs, include digitalis leaf, hedge mustard, figwort, lily of the valley roots, motherwort, oleander leaf, pheasant's eye plant, pleurisy root, squill bulb leaf scales, and uzara root, these herbs may theoretically, increase cardiac glycoside toxicity with tetracyclines. (Blumenthal 1998)(Brinker 1998)(Ellenhorn 1997)(Newall 1996)

Tetracyclines increase vitamin C requirements (rose hips). (McKevoy 1998)

Alfalfa, is high in iron, this may cause it to interfere with the absorption of tetracyclines. This is especially true if large quantities of the herb are ingested within two hours of taking tetracyclines. (Newall 1996)


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Brinker, F Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998.

Facts and Comparisons, Clinisphere 2.0, Wolters Kluwer Company, 1999.

Ellenhorn MJ, et al. Ellenhorn's Medical Toxicology: Diagnoses and Treatment of Human Poisoning. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1997.
Griffith, H. W. 1983. Complete Guide to Prescription and Non-Prescription. Fisher Publishing, Inc., Tucson.

Lieberman, S. & Bruning, N.: The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book. Avery, NY.

McKevoy GK, ed. AHFS Drug Information. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 1998

Neuvonen, P.J., et.al. 1970. Interference of iron with the absorbtion of tetracyclines in man. British Medical J, 4: 532.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996

Osol, Arthur. 1980. Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences. Mack Publishing Company, Pennsylvania.

Pronsky, Zaneta. Food Medication Interactions. 11th edition. 1999.

Roe, D.A. : Diet and Drug Interactions. Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY. 1989.

Roe, D.A. : Geriatric Nutrition. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 1992.

Roe, D.A. : Handbook on Drug & Nutrient Interactions. ADA, Chicago, 1989.


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