When acne persists but you’re determined to find a way to beat it, you want to explore all your options. There’s no cause to give up because what works for one may not work for all, and getting a more potent medication can turn up the heat on your acne and win you the long-fought battle.
Minocycline is the most powerful (and most expensive) of the group of oral antibiotics commonly used for acne called tetracyclines. It has often proved effective against acne even after its “sister drugs” tetracycline and doxycycline have failed to produce satisfactory results.
Minocycline for acne is typically not prescribed as a solo treatment but in conjunction with a topical anti-acne treatment. Together, these two treatments attack your acne from both inside and outside and yield superior results than either approach used alone.
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How Does Minocycline Work for Acne?
Minocycline is most commonly used against inflammatory acne because it is very effective against acne inflammations. Those red, inflamed pimples need not maintain a perpetual presence!
How does minocycline work? Simple. It stops the growth of the bacteria that are causing your acne outbreaks. That, in turn, reduces inflammation and brings you relief.
However, minocycline doesn’t tend to do that well against non-inflamed acne. It’s not a prime drug for battling black heads, for instance. That’s why it’s so often prescribed along with topical agents, such as retinoids.
Minocycline VS Doxycycline
As to effective results, both minocycline and doxycycline have proven about equal in numerous studies and tests over the years. And they both target inflammatory acne particularly well by curbing bacterial growth.
But there are other differences between these two antibiotics that you should be aware of before making a decision:
- Doxycycline can increase skin sensitivity, increasing risk of sunburns or rashes.
- Minocycline can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills and may cause birth defects. So a barrier-method birth control has to be used if taking it.
- The two drugs complement each other in that they tend to avoid potential problems caused by the alternative.
- Both drugs are available in more affordable generic incarnations. But only minocycline is available in liquid form, which helps if you have difficulty swallowing pills.
Minocycline Cream VS Pills
Minocycline is available to be taken both orally (pills) and topically (cream, gel, or lotion.) The impact of the treatment should be about the same, given the same dosage.
But there are several reasons that many prefer the pills. (Click the link to learn more about acne pills in general.)
- You already need another topical when taking minocycline, so it makes sense to take one pill, one cream.
- You have to time cream application around showers and be careful not to rub it off accidentally.
- If you use a slow-release pill (Solodyn), you only have to take your minocycline once a day.
It’s a personal decision whether you take cream or pill, and both work fine. But I do have to personally recommend the pill as slightly superior.
A common dose for minocycline for acne is 100 mg, though many often start off at only 50 mg. But your dosage could be more or less depending on the severity of your acne inflammations, and the dose can change over time – so you have to have periodic doctor check ups.
Here are a few tips to follow when taking minocycline:
- Take your treatment at the same time(s) daily. This keeps up a constant level of minocycline in your system instead of having it fluctuate wildly – which helps the drug work better!
- Don’t lie down to rest or sleep right after taking your dose. That can cause throat irritation.
- Expect the drug’s effects to appear gradually, not instantaneously. And finish all prescribed medication even if you no longer see symptoms.
Finally, minocycline is different than many other antibiotics in that you don’t have to take it on an empty stomach in order to properly absorb it. You can take it with or without food and still get good results – so it’s up to you on that one!
How Long Should I Take It?
There is no specific length of time that you should take minocycline for. It all depends on how long it takes for the drug to work and help get your acne inflammations under control.
Sometimes, you have to keep taking minocycline long term to prevent inflamed acne from breaking out again, but usually, it’s a relatively short term drug, followed up by continuing to apply topical anti-acne treatments.
Finally, if you develop negative side effects (more on that below), call your doctor because you may need to stop taking it. But otherwise, again, always finish your course of treatment regardless of whether you see visible signs of symptoms still present.
In general, it takes 3 to 4 weeks of usage before you’ll start seeing clear results when taking minocycline for your acne. It can take up to 3 or 4 months for the full effect to set in, however.
If your minocycline isn’t working after a few months, your doctor will need to cancel the prescription and prescribe something else.
No. Unlike some anit-acne treatments, minocycline is not exclusively used on female acne. The same stunning results are often achieved with teenage boys, for example, even if more females use the drug on average than do males.
Minocycline is among the most popular anti-acne antibiotics because it’s quite effective and has relatively few and non-severe side effects compared to other options. It’s been in use since the 1970’s and has a good track record of succeeding where other attempted treatments have failed.
The drug will both block bacterial growth and exert anti-inflammatory influences. You should see redness, swelling, and pimples gradually vanish.
To explore other antibiotics for acne and compare them with minocycline, follow the provided link.
Like all antibiotics, minocycline has potential side effects.
The most common three side effects are:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Bouts of diarrhea.
- A dizzy, disoriented feeling.
But while those are the three most common possible side effects, they are not the worst possible ones. In some case, the gums and mouth can gain a blue tint to them after using minocycline for a long time. The same can also happen to the teeth in very, very rare instances.
The blueing of the gums is temporary and totally reversible, but in the more rare instances of teeth blueing, it can be permanent.
Finally, though extremely rare, some have been known to develop lupus disease after extensive use of minocycline. Lupus can involve joint pain, fatigue, and butterly rashes, but minocycline-induced lupus generally goes away once you stop taking the drug.
Also note that you should NOT take minocycline if presently pregnant or breastfeeding OR if you are under the age of 8 (some say if under the age of 12.)
As you read online reviews of those who’ve used monocycline on their acne, you’ll encounter a lack of consensus. This is normal, so don’t be alarmed. Almost any acne treatment will have plenty of both positive and negative online reviews.
There are cases where people didn’t use the antibiotic as prescribed or long enough before writing their scathing review. And there are bogus reviews out there, posted by jealous competitors. But don’t discount all the negative reviews either. Some people’s acne doesn’t respond well to minocycline.
Positive reviews abound and often mention redness, inflammation, and the lion’s share of visible acne gone in a month and full recovery within 3 months.
Don’t worry if before/after pictures show scars remaining – minocycline doesn’t treat scars. Click here to learn about acne scar treatment.
Acne is a stubborn condition, but minocycline often succeeds in treating it where other approaches failed. Along with a topical accompaniment, it’s a top-tier option!
You can find further details of Acne here.