Dr. Aouthmany, MD, FAAD
Board Certified Dermatologist

Minocycline is an antibiotic used for both its antibacterial as well as its anti-inflammatory properties. When treating acne and rosacea it is commonly used continuously for many months, even years.

  • May be taken with food or on an empty stomach, if tolerated. If you take this medicine with milk, there may be some decreased absorption
  • Do not take minocycline at the same time as iron supplements. Iron tablets can significantly decrease minocycline absorption. Avoid taking one within 2 hours of the other. 
  • Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or breast feeding. If you think you might be pregnant, stop taking Minocycline immediately
  • Take the medicine regularly. Do NOT stop it as soon as your pimples go away unless instructed. 
  • Birth control pills. If you are taking birth control pills, there is a small chance that it could keep them from working as a contraceptive. 
Common side effects: 
Vaginal yeast infections, Diarrhea. Headache. Dizziness.

Uncommon side effects: Hyperpigmentation. This can appear as gradually darkening smudgy brown or blue areas, especially on the legs, but sometimes on the face or in the mouth or in scars. This is reversible on discontinuing minocycline, but the darker the pigment, the longer it takes. Some nonreversible pigmentation in the teeth has been reported.

Rare side effects: Sun sensitivity. You should take normal sun precautions: sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and avoid intense sun exposure.

Extremely rare complications:
  • As with any medicine, there can be very rare, serious, unpredictable reactions, like allergic reactions, liver inflammation, blood cell abnormalities, or severe rash. 
  • Lupus-like syndrome: fever, fatigue, and joint pains. Seen mainly in people on minocycline for more than two years; 80% are female, 80% resolve promptly on discontinuing the medicine.
  • Pseudotumor cerebri: in this condition pressure gradually builds up in the cerebrospinal fluid. This causes headaches, but if it continues for a long time it can damage vision. Unusual headaches are cause for concern and should be discussed with our office.
  • Might increase the risk of inflammatory bowel disease; this is a contested notion, and it may be years before we see conclusive evidence one way or the other.