Compare Tetracycline vs. Accutane

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

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Accutane (isotretinoin)

Prescription only
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.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 153 reviewsforTetracycline
Treats severe acne.

Accutane (isotretinoin) works well against severe acne but has a lot of serious side effects. You will need to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 101 reviewsforAccutane
Upsides
  • 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.
  • Works well to clear your skin when other medicines have not worked for you.
  • Most people experience clear skin after just one course of treatment. Clear skin can last for some time even after you've stopped taking Accutane (isotretinoin).
  • You only have to take Accutane (isotretinoin) once or twice a day.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Accutane (isotretinoin) can raise your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may have to monitor your sugar levels more frequently.
  • If you play sports a lot, you may be at higher risk of bone fractures.
  • You'll have to see your doctor every time to get a refill of Accutane (isotretinoin) because of the high risk of birth defects.
  • Can cause serious bowel problems. Talk to your doctor if you experience loose stools, blood in the stools, or bad belly pain.
  • Can damage your liver. Your doctor will do regular blood tests to make sure it's healthy.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
153 reviews so far
45%
saidit'sworth it
29%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Acnecycline (Tetracycline)?

Leave a review
101 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
36%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Accutane (isotretinoin)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Acnecycline (Tetracycline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Accutane (isotretinoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Changes in teeth
    • Pregnancy
    • Age younger than 8 years
  • Reduced effectiveness of birth control pills
  • Decreased kidney function and kidney injury
    • Kidney disease
    • Taking Acnecycline (Tetracycline) past the expiration date
  • Sunburn
    • Exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light
  • Harm to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Increased pressure in the brain
    • Taking with Acnecycline (Tetracycline) with other medicines that can cause this effect (e.g. Accutane)
  • Liver injury
    • Kidney disease
    • Large doses of Acnecycline (Tetracycline)
  • Development of more serious infections
    • Long-term use of Acnecycline (Tetracycline)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Harm to fetus
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression or other psychiatric condition
  • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Increased alcohol
  • Serious skin reaction
  • Bone fractures
    • History of childhood osteoporosis or bone conditions
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Taking anticonvulsant medicines
    • Taking corticosteroids
    • Problems with vitamin D breakdown
    • Longer-term therapy with Accutane (isotretinoin)
  • Eye problems
    • History of eye problems
See more detailed risks and warnings