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  1. About lymecycline
  2. Key facts
  3. Who can and cannot take lymecycline
  4. How and when to take it
  5. Side effects
  6. How to cope with side effects
  7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  8. Cautions with other medicines
  9. Common questions

1. About lymecycline

Lymecycline is an antibiotic. It's used mainly for spots (acne).

Lymecycline is only available on prescription. It comes as capsules that you swallow.

2. Key facts

  • For acne, it's usual to take lymecycline once a day.
  • Common side effects are feeling sick (nausea), stomach pain, diarrhoea and headaches. But these tend to be mild and short-lived.
  • You can drink alcohol while taking lymecycline.
  • Lymecycline is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Lymecycline is not suitable for children under the age of 12 years. It can build up in growing teeth and permanently stain them.
  • The brand name for lymecycline is Tetralysal 300.

3. Who can and cannot take lymecycline

Lymecycline can be taken by adults and children over the age of 12 years.

Lymecycline is not suitable for some people. To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:

  • have ever had an allergic reaction to lymecycline or any other medicine in the past
  • have kidney problems
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have liver problems
  • have an autoimmune disease called lupus
  • have myasthenia gravis – a rare muscle-weakening disease

4. How and when to take it

For acne, it's usual to take 1 capsule of lymecycline once a day, usually in the morning. Each capsule contains 408mg of lymecycline.

When you take it for other infections, follow your doctor or pharmacist's instructions.

How to take it

Swallow the capsule whole, along with a glassful of water (a medium-sized glass – 200ml).

You can take this medicine with or without food. But you're less likely to feel sick if you have it with food.


Carry on taking this medicine until the course is completed, even if you feel better.

If you stop your treatment early, your problem could come back.

If you forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you remember, unless it's nearly time for your next dose.

In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one. And never take 2 doses at the same time.

If you forget doses often, you could set an alarm to remind you.

You can also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicines.

What if I take too much?

Taking an extra dose of lymecycline by accident is unlikely to cause any harm.

Speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you're worried or you take more than 1 extra dose.

5. Side effects

Like all medicines, lymecycline can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.

Common side effects

These common side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people.

Keep taking the medicine, but tell your doctor if the side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea
  • headaches

Serious side effects

Serious side effects are rare.

Stop taking lymecycline and call a doctor straight away if you get:

  • pale poo with dark pee, yellow skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow (this can be a warning sign of liver problems)
  • your skin becomes very sensitive to the sun

Serious allergic reaction

It's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to lymecycline.

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E now if:
  • you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • you're wheezing
  • you get tightness in the chest or throat
  • you have trouble breathing or talking
  • your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling

You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

These are not all the side effects of lymecycline. For a full list, see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.


You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme.

Visit Yellow Card for further information.

6. How to cope with side effects

What to do about:

  • feeling sick – try taking lymecycline with or after food to see if that helps ease your symptoms. It may also help if you avoid rich or spicy food while you're taking this medicine.
  • stomach pain – try to rest and relax. Putting a heat pad or covered hot water bottle on your stomach may also help. If you're in a lot of pain, speak to your pharmacist or doctor.
  • diarrhoea – drink plenty of water or other fluids to avoid dehydration. Signs of dehydration include peeing less than usual or having strong-smelling pee. Do not take any other medicines to treat diarrhoea without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor.
  • headaches – make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink too much alcohol. Everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, are safe to take with lymecycline.

7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Lymecycline is not normally recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Ask your doctor if there's another safer antibiotic that you can take.

For more information about how lymecycline can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.

Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you're:

  • trying to get pregnant
  • pregnant
  • breastfeeding

8. Cautions with other medicines

There are some medicines that do not mix well with lymecycline.

Tell your doctor if you're taking these medicines before starting lymecycline:

Mixing lymecycline with herbal remedies and supplements

There are no known problems with taking herbal remedies with lymecycline.

But tell your doctor if you're taking any supplements containing aluminium, bismuth, calcium, magnesium or zinc.

Important: Medicine safety

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements.

9. Common questions

How does lymecycline work?

Lymecycline is from a group of medicines called tetracycline antibiotics.

These antibiotics kill bacteria by stopping them making the proteins that they need to survive.

How long does it take to work?

Lymecycline works slowly against acne.

You should see some improvement within a week, but it can take several weeks before acne clears.

What if I do not get better?

For acne, your doctor will usually check you after 8 weeks to see if lymecycline has worked.

If you're taking lymecycline for any other infection, tell your doctor if you do not start feeling better after taking it for 7 days, or at any time if you start to feel worse.

How does lymecycline compare with other antibiotics?

Lymecycline is usually only used to treat acne. Other antibiotics that can be used for acne include minocycline and oxytetracycline.

Not all antibiotics are suitable for every infection. Your doctor will choose an antibiotic that's suitable for the type of infection you have.

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Will it affect my contraception?

Lymecycline does not stop contraceptive pills working, including the combined pill and emergency contraception.

But if you have severe diarrhoea or vomiting your contraceptive pills may not protect you from pregnancy.

If this happens, follow the instructions in the leaflet that comes with your contraceptive pills.

Find out what to do if you're on the pill and you're sick or have diarrhoea

Will it affect my fertility?

There's no clear evidence to suggest that taking lymecycline will reduce fertility in either men or women.

But speak to a pharmacist or doctor before taking it if you're trying to get pregnant.

Will it give me thrush?

Some people get a fungal infection called thrush after taking a course of antibiotics like lymecycline.

Antibiotics kill the normal harmless bacteria that help to defend against thrush.

Symptoms include redness and itching in the mouth. Women may get vaginal itching.

If this happens to you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Does it stain teeth?

Lymecycline can build up in growing bone and teeth. This can stain teeth permanently.

It only happens when bones and teeth are developing. That's why lymecycline is not used in children under the age of 12 years, or in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Can I drive or ride a bike?

Yes, lymecycline will not affect you being able to drive or cycle.

Can I drink alcohol with it?

Yes, you can drink alcohol with lymecycline.

Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?

You can eat and drink normally while taking lymecycline.

Can lifestyle changes help my acne?

There are some lifestyle changes that may help your acne.

  • Try not to wash affected areas of skin more than twice a day. Too much washing can irritate your skin and make spots worse.
  • Wash spotty skin with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or cold water can make acne worse.
  • Never "clean out" blackheads or squeeze spots. This can make them worse and cause permanent scars.
  • Do not use too much make-up and cosmetics.
  • Use water-based make-up and toiletries that are described as non-comedogenic. This means the product is less likely to block the pores in your skin.
  • Remove make-up before going to bed.
  • Use a fragrance-free, water-based moisturiser if dry skin is a problem.
  • Shower as soon as possible after exercising, as sweat can irritate acne.
  • Wash your hair regularly, and try to stop letting your hair fall across your face.

Related conditions

Page last reviewed: 23 November 2018
Next review due: 23 November 2021