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Minocycline oral capsule side effects: A detailed guide

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More common side effectsMild side effectsSerious side effectsSide effects in childrenFAQSide effects in detailWarningsAsk your doctor
Minocycline oral capsule is prescribed for acne and certain bacterial infections. It’s a tetracycline antibiotic drug that may cause mild or serious side effects. These include sun sensitivity and ulcers in your esophagus.
Medically reviewed by Amber R. Watson, PharmD
Updated on November 28, 2023

This article describes possible side effects of minocycline oral capsule. You can explore this overview article to learn more about minocycline, including the drug’s uses, side effects, ways to save on cost, and more.

Minocycline oral capsule is a generic version of the brand-name drug Dynacin. Minocycline also comes in other forms that you’ll swallow, but these forms aren’t described in this article. To learn more about these forms, talk with your doctor.

More common side effects of minocycline

Minocycline oral capsule may cause mild or serious side effects. Below are some of the more common side effects of this medication.

Commonly reported side effects of minocycline oral capsule include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of minocycline in detail” section below.

Mild side effects of minocycline

Minocycline may cause certain mild side effects. Most often, mild side effects are temporary and can be easily managed. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have side effects that don’t go away or become bothersome.

Mild side effects of minocycline oral capsule that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about these side effects, see the “Side effects of minocycline in detail” section below.
An allergic reaction is possible with minocycline oral capsule. But it’s unclear whether it occurred in the drug’s studies.

Minocycline oral capsule may cause more mild side effects than those listed above. For details, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects of minocycline

Minocycline may cause certain serious side effects. If you have any serious side effects from minocycline oral capsule, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency or your side effects feel life threatening, take immediate action. Call 911 or a local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. Visit MedWatch’s website if you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with minocycline.

Serious side effects of minocycline oral capsule that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about these side effects, see the “Side effects of minocycline in detail” section below.
An allergic reaction is possible with minocycline oral capsule. But it’s unclear whether it occurred in the drug’s studies.

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Side effects of minocycline in children

For children, doctors prescribe minocycline oral capsule to treat certain bacterial infections, including acne. The drug is used for this purpose in children ages 8 years and older.

In studies, the following side effects were more common in children than in adults. These side effects were seen in children younger than 8 years of age:

  • tooth discoloration, which may be permanent
  • lack of tooth enamel, which can cause white spots on the teeth and other effects

Due to these risks, the drug isn’t typically prescribed for children younger than age 8 years.

If you’d like to know more about side effects in children taking minocycline oral capsule, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Common questions about side effects of minocycline

Here are answers to some common questions about side effects of minocycline oral capsule. If you have other questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can minocycline cause anxiety or depression?

No, probably not. Neither anxiety nor depression are side effects reported in studies of minocycline.

In fact, some studies have shown minocycline may help ease symptoms of depression if taken together with antidepressant medications.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about your mental health and whether any medications you take could be causing your symptoms.

Do side effects of minocycline go away?

Yes, in most cases. For many people, side effects of minocycline go away on their own after a few hours or days.

That said, minocycline can cause long-term side effects in rare cases. To learn about these side effects, see “Does minocycline cause long-term side effects?” just below. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more.

Does minocycline cause long-term side effects?

Yes, in some cases minocycline oral capsule may cause long-term side effects. These can occur if you take the drug for a long time or last for a while after you’ve stopped taking the drug.

Examples of long-term side effects reported with minocycline oral capsule include:

* To learn more about these side effects, see the “Side effects of minocycline in detail” section below.

Talk with your doctor to learn more about these side effects and how to manage them. Ask your doctor for more information about how long these side effects of minocycline may last.

Side effects of minocycline in detail

Below you’ll find details on some of the side effects of minocycline oral capsule.

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Intracranial hypertension

In studies, intracranial hypertension was rare in people taking minocycline oral capsule. This side effect may be serious.

With intracranial hypertension, you experience a buildup of pressure in the fluid around your brain. This condition can place pressure on your optic nerve, which can lead to blindness in extreme cases.

Symptoms may include:

  • feeling irritable, tired, or generally unwell
  • headache
  • pulsing in your ears
  • vision issues, including blurry vision and vision loss

Certain factors can increase the risk of intracranial hypertension with minocycline oral capsule. These include:

  • being female* and have overweight
  • being female* and having had intracranial hypertension in the past
  • taking the medication isotretinoin together with minocycline

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to a person’s sex assigned at birth.

Ways to manage

If you experience symptoms of intracranial hypertension, tell your doctor right away. They’ll likely recommend making an appointment so they can check your symptoms in person. If they confirm you have intracranial hypertension, they’ll recommend a treatment for you based on your symptoms. They’ll also likely recommend that you stop treatment with minocycline.

Ulcers in your esophagus

In studies, ulcers in the esophagus were rare in people taking minocycline oral capsule. This side effect is usually mild but may be serious.

Ulcers are painful sores that can appear anywhere in or on your body. These ulcers happen in your esophagus, which is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach.

Symptoms of an ulcer in your esophagus include:

Certain factors can increase the risk of ulcers in your esophagus with minocycline oral capsule. These include:

  • chewing or opening minocycline capsules
  • not drinking enough fluids when taking a dose of minocycline

Ways to manage

To help lower your risk for ulcers in your esophagus while taking minocycline, follow these tips:

  • swallow minocycline capsules whole
  • take every dose of minocycline with a full glass of water (about 8 ounces)
  • remain sitting or standing up. Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking a dose of minocycline

If you experience symptoms of an ulcer in your esophagus, tell your doctor. They’ll likely recommend making an appointment to review your symptoms. This exam will help your doctor determine the best way to heal your esophagus and treat the ulcer(s). They’ll also likely recommend that you stop taking minocycline.

Sun sensitivity

Minocycline is known to cause sun sensitivity. In studies, reactions related to sun sensitivity were common in people taking minocycline oral capsule. This side effect is usually mild but may be serious in extreme cases.

With sun sensitivity, your body is more sensitive to the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. This means even limited sun exposure can cause severe sunburn.

Symptoms of severe sunburn may include:

  • severe skin rash or sunburn
  • itchy skin
  • blistering, weeping, or peeling skin

Ways to manage

There are ways to lower your risk for a severe sunburn and other effects of sun sensitivity while taking minocycline:

  • avoid tanning beds and sunlamps
  • avoid direct sun exposure
  • when you must be in the sun, apply sunscreen and clothing that fully covers your skin (such as long sleeves and a hat)

If you experience symptoms of severe sunburn or other effects related to sun sensitivity, tell your doctor. They’ll recommend an appropriate treatment based on your symptoms. They’ll also likely want to discuss ways to avoid these reactions in the future. This may include discussing whether you should continue taking minocycline.

Allergic reaction

For some people, minocycline oral capsule can cause an allergic reaction.

Symptoms can be mild or serious, and they may include:

  • itchiness
  • skin rash
  • swelling under the skin, usually affecting eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

Ways to manage

For mild allergic reaction symptoms, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms. They’ll also let you know whether you should keep taking the medication.

For severe allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms require immediate medical care because they can become life threatening. If you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to minocycline oral capsule, your doctor may recommend taking a different medication instead.

Warnings for minocycline

Below are some factors you may want to discuss with your doctor before taking minocycline oral capsule.

Warnings

It may not be safe for you to take minocycline oral capsule if you have specific health conditions. These are sometimes called drug-condition interactions. Other things may also affect whether minocycline oral capsule is a safe treatment option for you.

Before taking minocycline oral capsule, tell your doctor about your health and medications you take. Things to consider include:

Minocycline and pregnancy

Minocycline oral capsule should not be taken during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking this medication. Your doctor may suggest birth control options to use during treatment with minocycline.

Minocycline and breastfeeding

Minocycline oral capsule should not be taken while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before taking this medication. Your doctor may recommend other ways to feed your child during treatment with minocycline.

Minocycline and alcohol

Minocycline oral capsule is not known to interact with alcohol.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe to consume it during your treatment with minocycline oral capsule.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes common and serious side effects of minocycline oral capsule. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they can discuss possible side effects with you. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about treatment with this medication.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Does minocycline have similar side effects as doxycycline?
  • How do side effects of minocycline compare with fluoroquinolones such as levofloxacin?
  • If minocycline is working to treat my acne, but I have side effects, can you prescribe a lower dose for me to try?
  • Am I at risk for tendon rupture as a side effect of taking minocycline?

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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