Compare Doxycycline vs. Tetracycline

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Vibramycin
(Doxycycline)

Acnecycline
(Tetracycline)

Treats bacterial infections. Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is good for treating many bacterial infections. It is also available as generic. However, it can make birth control pills less effective. You also have to protect yourself against sunburn.Kills bacteria and treats acne. Acnecycline (Tetracycline) treats many different types of infections and is cheap, but dosing and drug interactions may be somewhat of a hassle.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.223300970873787Doxycycline
Reviews for Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
50%
of people say Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is worth it
34%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Acnecycline (Tetracycline)
44%
6% vs. Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
29%
5% vs. Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
16%
+7% vs. Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
Side effects
DoxycyclineTetracycline

The Doxycycline FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Doxycycline side effects »

The Tetracycline FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Tetracycline side effects »
How it works
DoxycyclineTetracycline
Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is a tetracycline antibiotic. It stops bacteria by preventing them from reproducing and repairing themselves.Acnecycline (Tetracycline) is an antibiotic. It prevents bacteria from growing, reproducing, and repairing themselves. It also changes your immune system response (immunomodulating effect), which helps treat skin conditions.
Type of medication
DoxycyclineTetracycline
Antibiotic
Tetracycline
Prescription only
Acne agent
Antibiotic
Prescription only
Available as
DoxycyclineTetracycline
  • Pill
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for (click to learn more)
DoxycyclineTetracycline
Risk factors for serious side effects
DoxycyclineTetracycline
  • Age 8 years or younger
  • Using oral birth control pills
  • Long antibiotic treatment period
      • Women of childbearing age
      • Women of childbearing age
      • Overweight or obese
      • Taking isotretinoin (Accutane)
      Detailed Vibramycin (Doxycycline) risks & warnings »
      • Pregnancy
      • Age younger than 8 years
        • Kidney disease
        • Taking Acnecycline (Tetracycline) past the expiration date
        • Exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light
        • Women of childbearing age
        • Taking with Acnecycline (Tetracycline) with other medicines that can cause this effect (e.g. Accutane)
        • Kidney disease
        • Large doses of Acnecycline (Tetracycline)
        • Long-term use of Acnecycline (Tetracycline)
        Detailed Acnecycline (Tetracycline) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        DoxycyclineTetracycline
        DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        • Has to be taken with plenty of water and food and you have to stay upright for 30 minutes afterwards to avoid stomach irritation.
        • Take with plenty of food and liquids.
        • It needs to be spaced out from food, milk, vitamins, and some medications.
        • Take your dose at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals, milk, or multivitamins with minerals.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        • Good choice for people on kidney dialysis who need an antibiotic. Tetracycline isn't removed by dialysis, so the dose doesn't need to be changed.
        • Acnecycline (Tetracycline) can lower your kidney function causing buildup of substances that should be removed from the body. There's a higher risk if you have current problems with your kidneys. It's also important that you don't take Acnecycline (Tetracycline) past the expiration date on your prescription label. This was more of a problem with older forms of the medicine, which could change and damage your kidneys.
        • Liver injury can happen rarely with Acnecycline (Tetracycline). There's a higher risk if you have kidney disease. Your doctor should check your liver function before starting you on Acnecycline (Tetracycline).
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        DoxycyclineTetracycline
        • Available in generic.
        • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule, and suspension.
        • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
        • Less resistance seen in bacteria to this antibiotic. Your doctor may run tests to see which antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing your infection.
        • Effectively treats a wide range of conditions and is used for many different types of infections.
        • Effective for acne.
        • Cheap.
        • Good choice for people on kidney dialysis who need an antibiotic. Tetracycline isn't removed by dialysis, so the dose doesn't need to be changed.
        Downsides and risks
        DoxycyclineTetracycline
        • Can't be used in pregnant women and children under 8 years old.
        • Makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
        • Has to be taken with plenty of water and food and you have to stay upright for 30 minutes afterwards to avoid stomach irritation.
        • Can make birth control less effective.
        • Can cause diarrhea.
        • For most infections you'll need to take it 4 times a day (or every 6 hours).
        • It needs to be spaced out from food, milk, vitamins, and some medications.
        • Can cause tongue darkening, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
        • Tetracycline makes your skin more sensitive to the sun and ultraviolet light. Wear sunblock and protective clothing, and don't go tanning.
        • Interacts with birth control and makes it less effective. Use a backup form of birth control if you don't want to get pregnant.
        • Not a good choice for children ages 8 and under. Tetracycline can cause permanent staining of teeth in babies and young children.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        DoxycyclineTetracycline
        • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
        • If you're using birth control pills, this medication can make them less effective.
        • Wear sunblock if you have to go out into the sun since your skin can become more sensitive to sunburn.
        • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
        • Space out any vitamins by at least two hours.
        • Take with plenty of food and liquids.
        • Don't take any medications with bismuth (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) while taking this medication.
        • Don't lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medication.
        • You might feel better after a few doses, but you'll need to take all the medicine that was prescribed. Not taking all your medicine can cause the bacteria to get stronger and Tetracycline not to work when you need it again in the future.
        • It doesn't fight viral infections, so it won't work for the common cold.
        • Can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Use sunblock or cover up.
        • Take your dose at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals, milk, or multivitamins with minerals.
        • Take your dose with a full glass of water and don't lay down right after taking it to prevent throat irritation.
        • Can cause nausea, vomiting, belly cramping, and diarrhea.
        Learn more
        More about DoxycyclineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about TetracyclineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert