Minocycline for Acne

by on July 13, 2012

One of the main uses of Minocycline is the for the treatment of acne.   Minocycline is a second generation semi-synthetic antibiotic that belongs to the tetracycline group and is one of the most commonly used antibiotics in dermatology.

Acne is a common dermatologic disorder that develops mainly in adolescents. It is usually presents with various lesions such as comedones (clogging of skin pores), papules (inflamed elevations of skin), pustules(blisters filled with pus) and nodules on face and sometimes on chest and back.  Increased sebum production is commonly seen. Acne has a self-limited course but moderate and severe forms cause a significant distress to patients and pose risk of scarring. A bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes plays an important role in the development of acne. That is why antibiotics are sometimes used in its treatment.

How does minocycline work in acne?

Minocycline is used for the treatment of inflammatory acne. Minocycline is lipid soluble and is excreted in sebum. It decreases the production of free fatty acids in the sebum. These acids have an irritating effect on the skin and are produced by Propionibacterium acnes.

Several weeks are needed for significant decrease of the fatty acids and evident clinical effect. Minocycline decreases the activity of Propionibacterium acnes as well as its number.

Dosage for the Treatment of Acne

Adults and adolescents – the usual initial dose is 200 mg orally. Then the recommended dose is 50-100 mg twice a day. The maximum daily dose is 200 mg.

Children (8-12 years old) – the initial dose is 4mg/kg. Then 2 mg/kg per dose twice a day is recommended.

The duration of the treatment is usually 12 weeks.

Minocycline should not be administered to children younger than 8 years old.

Precautions when taking minocycline for Acne

  • Minocycline is a prescription medicine and you should not use it unless it has been prescribed to you by a doctor.
  • Minocycline can cause photosensitivity. This means that your skin can get sunburnt very easily. Avoid intensive sunlight during the treatment or use protective clothing and sun protection products with SPF 30+. Treatment with minocycline is generally avoided during the summer months.
  • It is very important that patients are monitored regularly by a dermatologist as minocycline can cause blue-black pigmentation of the skin and especially of the acne scars.
  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering from kidney or liver diseases or other serious conditions.
  • Minocycline should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under 8 years old as it can permanently damage developing bones and teeth.
  • Unlike Tetracycline, minocycline can be taken with food. However, avoiding dairy products around the time of taking minocycline is recommended.
  • Minocycline can interact with a number of drugs so inform your doctor for any other prescription, OTC drugs, dietary supplements, vitamins or herbs that you are using. Never use minocycline past its expiration date.
  • Minocycline can cause dizziness. Avoid driving motor vehicles or operating machinery until you are sure how it affects you.
  • Do not take minocycline if you are allergic to it or to tetracyclines or any of the other ingredients of the medicine.