Minocycline for Acne

Most people experience acne outbreaks at some time in their lives, when the sebaceous glands secrete excessive sebum that blocks pores and this develops into pimples. If your acne develops into deep cysts accompanied by extensive scarring and inflammation, it means you are suffering from severe acne. This requires aggressive treatment, which only a dermatologist is qualified to do. This may require many months of treatment but ultimately, the symptoms can be successfully treated.

Oral antibiotics have been used for many years to treat severe acne. They attack the P.acnes bacteria the source of severe acne and by limiting their growth and inflammation also decreases. Usually high doses of antibiotics are prescribed, which is then slowly reduced over time as acne resolves. Over the years, studies have shown that treatment using broad spectrum antibiotics is effective.  The common antibiotics used are tetracycline and its derivatives – doxycycline and minocycline, amoxicillin, cefadroxil, erythromycin and sulfa drugs.

Minocycline for Acne

Minocycline is the synthetic derivative of tetracycline. Tetracycline and its derivatives reduce pustules and papules that are inflammatory acne lesions. Minocycline for acne is very effective for acne that does not respond to other oral antibiotics. According to studies, it seems to produce less resistance to antibiotics compared to other similar medications. 

Minocycline, tetracycline and doxycycline possess anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in treating pustules and papules associated with acne rosacea.

Minocycline for acne

The two common brand names for minocycline are Dynacin and Minocin. Minocycline for acne treats the bacterial infections caused by the P.acnes bactera. It is also used to treat other bacterial infections but is not effective in the treatment of viral infections.   Of the three forms of tetracycline, minocycline is the most expensive. 

How to use Minocycline

Minocycline for acne must be prescribed by a qualified doctor who will suggest the recommended dosage.   The usual recommended dosage is 50mg or 100mg. The frequency will be given by the doctor. 

You must take minocycline with a full glass (240 ml) of water. You must not lie down for ten minutes after taking minocycline. Hence, do not take it at bedtime. If you get stomach upsets, you can take minocycline with food or a glass of milk. 

It is best to maintain a 12-hour gap when taking minocycline. Do not miss doses for it will reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic and cause the bacteria to become resistant to that particular antibiotic. Follow doctor’s instructions precisely. 

Side effects of Minocycline

Some possible side effects of minocycline are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, vaginal itching, discolored skin, ringing in the ears and dizziness. Minocycline also increases sun sensitivity  (although of the three Tetracyclines, this is the least likely to cause photosensitivity) . Those who are on this medication could be susceptible to sunburn. Hence, they must use a good sunscreen and protection like a hat or an umbrella before stepping out into the sun.

More serious side effects include decreased urination, fever, chills, hives, severe headaches, skin rashes or difficulty in breathing. If you develop these symptoms, you must consult your doctor immediately.   It can also cause skin pigmentation problems, liver problems and symptoms of drug-induced lupus.

Precautions while using Minocycline

Minocycline for acne must not be taken along with medications that contain calcium, aluminum or magnesium for they prevent proper absorption. So give a gap of at least 2-3 hours between taking these medications. Continue minocycline for the full period mentioned. If you stop it too early, the bacteria will not be completely inhibited, they will start to grow again and cause infection to return. 

Minocycline must not be taken by pregnant and breastfeeding women. It can harm the baby and cause permanent discoloration of teeth and other developmental problems as it affects the bones.   Minocycline must not be taken by young children.   The effectiveness of birth control pills is also reduced with minocycline. Make sure you check expiry dates carefully for expired medications can cause kidney damage. 


Minocycline must be used as part of a combined therapy such as topical gels, cleansers, and ointments to be most effective. Just sporadic use of only minocycline for acne will not show much improvement to your skin.