Order Oxytetracycline to help treat acne or rosacea

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic which is commonly prescribed for treating acne and rosacea. It can also be used to effectively treat other bacterial infections, including some sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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250mg336 tablets£125.00In Stock
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Virginia Chachati

Reviewed by Virginia Chachati MPharm
(2013, University College London)
GPhC Registration number: 2087654

Information last reviewed 25/06/2021


What is Oxytetracycline?

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic which is commonly used to treat acne and rosacea

What can Oxytetracycline be used for?

Oxytetracycline is mostly used to treat acne and rosacea. As an antibiotic, oxytetracycline can treat bacterial infections including pneumonia, bronchitis, mycoplasma and some types of sexually transmitted infections. It may also be given for infections caused by fleas, ticks or mites.

How does Oxytetracycline work?

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic. It works by killing bacteria to stop them from spreading and heal an infection. It is particularly effective against a type of bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes, which causes spots. Bacteria feed off oils produced by sebaceous glands, causing breakouts and inflammation. Oxytetracycline stops this from happening, eventually reducing the appearance of acne spots and redness.

How long does Oxytetracycline take to work?

Oxytetracycline takes several weeks to start working and you'll usually take it for up to three months.

Does Oxytetracycline work for all types of acne?

Oxytetracycline can be used for all types of acne which are caused by bacteria. If you have severe acne and oxytetracycline does not work for you, then you may be referred to a dermatologist to try a different treatment.


How to take Oxytetracycline?

Oxytetracycline tablets should be taken one hour before food. Swallow the whole tablet with water. If you're taking 2 tablets a day then take them at least 6 hours apart. Avoid taking oxytetracycline just before going to bed. Try to stay out of the sun while taking oxytetracycline.

Oxytetracycline dosage

You take Oxytetracycline twice a day. Each tablet contains 250 mg of oxytetracycline. You might need to take more than one tablet to treat bacterial infections. Always follow the advice given by your doctor about how much to take.

When should I stop taking Oxytetracycline?

To treat acne, you normally take oxytetracycline for three months. Keep taking Oxytetracycline for the length of time your doctor has prescribed unless they tell you otherwise. This may vary depending on which condition you are being treated for. 

Side Effects

Oxytetracycline side effects

Common side effects of oxytetracycline include: 

  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Discomfort or difficulty swallowing 

Less common side effects of oxytetracycline include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Disturbed vision
  • Dizziness 
  • Thrush
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight 
  • Colitis 
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Problems with your liver
  • Severe headaches
  • Unexplained bruising, pain and feverish symptoms

If you experience any of these symptoms then speak to your doctor for advice.


You should not take Oxytetracycline if: 

  • You are sensitive to or allergic to tetracycline medicines
  • You are allergic to aspirin 
  • You are allergic to lactose 
  • You have a severe kidney or liver problem 
  • You have porphyria 
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding 
  • You have systemic lupus erythematosus
  • You are taking vitamin A or retinoids treatments

Drug interactions

Speak to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines: 

  • Penicillin 
  • Vitamin A
  • Retinoids 
  • The contraceptive pill
  • Diuretics 
  • Kaolin-pectin 
  • Bismuth subsalicylate
  • Methoxyflurane 
  • Treatments for diabetes 
  • Antacids

Oxytetracycline and photosensitivity

One of the possible side effects of oxytetracycline is photosensitivity. This is where your skin develops an increased sensitivity to sunlight and you may develop a rash. Not everyone will experience this while taking oxytetracycline. Wearing a high SPF sunscreen, covering your skin with long clothing and avoiding being in the sun for too long can help prevent skin damage.

Oxytetracycline and alcohol

Drinking alcohol does not have an effect on oxytetracycline. But, if you get an upset stomach after taking oxytetracycline, drinking alcohol can make you feel worse.

Oxytetracycline and pregnancy

Oxytetracycline should not be used during pregnancy unless your doctor recommends it.

Will Oxytetracycline interfere with the contraceptive pill?

Oxytetracycline does not interfere with the contraceptive pill so you can keep taking it as normal. However, if you experience vomiting or diarrhoea after taking oxytetracycline, then you may not be protected. If this happens, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on your particular pill.

Treatment Options

Oxytetracycline vs other acne treatments

Oxytetracycline is an effective treatment for moderate acne which has not responded to acne creams or gels alone. There are other antibiotic treatments available on prescription which are applied directly to the skin, alongside benzoyl peroxide and retinoids like adapalene. The combined contraceptive pill can be prescribed for women with hormonal acne. A doctor may prescribe isotretinoin for severe acne.

Can I do anything else to help my acne?

While you are taking Oxytetracycline there are several things you can do to help improve your skin. These include eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, drinking plenty of water to hydrate the skin and exercising to flush out toxins. Maintaining a good skincare routine can also help to ensure excess oil is cleansed away. 


Can I wear makeup when taking Oxytetracycline?

You can still wear makeup while taking oxytetracycline to improve your skin. However, avoid oil-based makeup which can clog your pores and make spots worse. Stick to a good skincare routine and always take off your makeup before going to bed.

Can I use skin products with Oxytetracycline?

Skin products will not interfere with oxytetracycline so you can still use them as normal. You may want to avoid products which are overly oily. Oily products may clog up your pores and slow down the effects of oxytetracycline in healing your acne. Stick to light, water-based moisturisers.

Will my acne come back after I stop taking Oxytetracycline?

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic which kills bacteria that cause acne. So, your acne should not come back after you stop taking oxytetracycline. If you stop taking oxytetracycline early then it may not work as effectively. There will be left over bacteria which will cause spots. This is why you should always keep taking oxytetracycline for the prescribed length of time or until your doctor tells you to stop.

Why do I need to take Oxytetracycline on an empty stomach?

Oxytetracycline should be taken on an empty stomach, ideally one hour or more before eating. Oxytetracycline tablets are not absorbed very well if you take them at the same time as food or milk. If this happens, you will have less oxytetracycline in your body to clear up your acne. So the treatment will not be as effective. You can still take oxytetracycline with water or two hours after food.

Can I use Oxytetracycline for rosacea?

Oxytetracycline can be used to treat rosacea, a skin condition which causes facial flushing, redness and small red bumps. For rosacea, oxytetracycline will usually be prescribed for a course of 4 to 6 weeks.

Is Oxytetracycline an antibiotic?

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic which is effective at treating acne and rosacea.


Active ingredients

The active ingredient in oxytetracycline is oxytetracycline dihydrate.

Inactive ingredients

The inactive ingredients in oxytetracycline are lactose, pregelatinised starch, sodium lauryl sulphate, gelatin, magnesium stearate, talc, sugar, titanium dioxide, aluminium hydroxide and tartrazine (E102), shellac, beeswax and carnauba wax.

Please Note: Different brands of generic oxytetracycline may contain different inactive ingredients. Please read the patient information leaflet provided for more details.

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

While the incidence is not known, oxytetracycline can occasionally cause an allergic reaction in some people such as a skin rash. If you notice any of these signs (hives, trouble breathing, facial/lip swelling), speak with a doctor as soon as possible or get immediate medical attention from your local emergency room. You should also stop taking the medicine right away after developing any signs of an allergic reaction.

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