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Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. It is effective against a wide variety of bacteria including Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and many others.

Tetracycline is used for many different infections including respiratory tract infections due to Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It also is used for nongonococcal urethritis (due to Ureaplasma), Rocky mountain spotted fever, typhus, chancroid, cholera, brucellosis, anthrax, syphilis, and acne. It is used in combination with other medications to treat Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria associated with ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. Tetracycline is used to treat rickettsial bacterial infections such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, some eye, respiratory, intestinal, and urinary infections, some kinds of acne, and some diseases where the infecting microorganism is resistant to penicillin. Tetracycline may cause permanent discoloration of developing teeth, and it is not given to pregnant and lactating women and growing children.

Tetracycline is an antibiotic which has been safely used to treat skin disorders for over 30 years. It is most commonly used to treat acne, but some other skin disorders, such as rosacea and perioral dermatitis, also respond to tetracycline. Since tetracycline does not cure, but only suppresses these skin disorders, it may be necessary to continue taking it for months or even years.There is a bacteria that normally lives on the skin called Propionibacterium acnes. This bacteria feeds on the sebum produced by the skin's oil glands. Sometimes, this bacteria multiplies and causes inflammation and acne. Tetracycline reduces the number of these bacteria.