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Tetracycline (Ophthalmic route)

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Tetracyclines belong to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Tetracycline ophthalmic preparations are used to treat infections of the eye. They may also be used along with other medicines that are taken by mouth for infections of the eye. Tetracyclines are available only with your doctor's prescription… Read more
Brand names include
Achromycin, Aureomycin, Ocudox Convenience Kit
Other forms
By mouth, Mucous membrane, oral route, On the skin
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Prevention and treatment regimens for recurrent corneal erosion

In recurrent corneal erosion repeated episodes of breakdown of the corneal surface produce disabling eye symptoms and predispose the cornea (the transparent part at the front of the eye) to infection. Recurrent corneal erosions may happen after trauma to the cornea. Management may be required to prevent the recurrence of the erosions following corneal trauma or once the diagnosis is made, or both. Most episodes of recurrent corneal erosion resolve with simple medical therapy such as topical eye drops and ointment. When such simple measures fail or recurrences become too frequent, alternative treatment strategies are required. This review included seven trials with a total of 443 participants. The trials were conducted in Germany, People's Republic of China, Japan, Sweden and three in the UK. The quality of the trials was poor and the authors found the level of evidence insufficient for the development of management guidelines. There was limited evidence that oral tetracycline or topical prednisolone, or both, and excimer laser ablation, may be effective treatments for recurrent corneal erosion. More good‐quality randomised controlled trials are needed to guide the management of recurrent corneal erosion.

Meta-analysis of local tetracycline in treating chronic periodontitis

BACKGROUND: Meta-analysis was used to assess the clinical efficacy of local delivery of tetracycline alone or as an adjunct to conventional mechanical therapy in patients with chronic periodontitis.

Antibiotics reduce the prevalence of ocular infection with trachoma

Trachoma is common in people living in poor communities and is the most common infectious cause of vision loss. Repeated bouts of conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membranes of the eyes) caused by Chlamydia infection eventually lead to scarring and inward turning of the eyelid. The lashes rub on the cornea causing opacification and blindness. Antibiotics can be used to treat the Chlamydia infection and may be given as an ointment or by mouth. This review included 14 trials in 3587 people with ocular trachoma and eight community‐based trials (67 communities). Antibiotic treatment reduce conjunctivitis caused by trachoma ('active trachoma') and ocular infection in individuals. Community‐based trials provided evidence that azithromycin treatment reduces the prevalence of active trachoma and ocular Chlamydia infection.

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Summaries for consumers

Prevention and treatment regimens for recurrent corneal erosion

In recurrent corneal erosion repeated episodes of breakdown of the corneal surface produce disabling eye symptoms and predispose the cornea (the transparent part at the front of the eye) to infection. Recurrent corneal erosions may happen after trauma to the cornea. Management may be required to prevent the recurrence of the erosions following corneal trauma or once the diagnosis is made, or both. Most episodes of recurrent corneal erosion resolve with simple medical therapy such as topical eye drops and ointment. When such simple measures fail or recurrences become too frequent, alternative treatment strategies are required. This review included seven trials with a total of 443 participants. The trials were conducted in Germany, People's Republic of China, Japan, Sweden and three in the UK. The quality of the trials was poor and the authors found the level of evidence insufficient for the development of management guidelines. There was limited evidence that oral tetracycline or topical prednisolone, or both, and excimer laser ablation, may be effective treatments for recurrent corneal erosion. More good‐quality randomised controlled trials are needed to guide the management of recurrent corneal erosion.

Antibiotics reduce the prevalence of ocular infection with trachoma

Trachoma is common in people living in poor communities and is the most common infectious cause of vision loss. Repeated bouts of conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membranes of the eyes) caused by Chlamydia infection eventually lead to scarring and inward turning of the eyelid. The lashes rub on the cornea causing opacification and blindness. Antibiotics can be used to treat the Chlamydia infection and may be given as an ointment or by mouth. This review included 14 trials in 3587 people with ocular trachoma and eight community‐based trials (67 communities). Antibiotic treatment reduce conjunctivitis caused by trachoma ('active trachoma') and ocular infection in individuals. Community‐based trials provided evidence that azithromycin treatment reduces the prevalence of active trachoma and ocular Chlamydia infection.

Treatments for bullous pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is the most common autoimmune blistering disease in the West. Incidence figures are not available for most parts of the world but BP appears to be rarer in the Far East. Bullous pemphigoid is usually a disease of the elderly but it can also affect younger people and children. Both sexes are similarly affected. While BP usually resolves within five years, there is a moderate death rate associated with the disease and its treatment. Oral corticosteroid drugs are the most common treatment, but may be associated with serious adverse effects, including some deaths. The most common adverse effects of oral steroids, include weight gain and high blood pressure. Long‐term use is associated with an increased risk of diabetes mellitus and decreased bone density. Topical steroids are also associated with adverse effects, such as thinning of the skin and easy bruising. The risk of experiencing adverse effects of topical steroids depends on the strength of the steroid, how long it is used for, which area of the body it is applied to, and the kind of skin problem; if a high‐strength, potent steroid is used, enough may be absorbed through the skin to cause adverse effects in the rest of the body.

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