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Oxytetracycline is used for treatment of bacterial infections such as respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, sexually transmitted diseases, skin infections, eye infections, gut infection and other relatively rare kind of infections such as rickettsial infections (caused by a variety of bacteria from the genera Rickettsia), psittacosis (infection caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, a type of bacteria found in the droppings of birds), brucellosis (a bacterial infection that spreads from animals to people — most often via unpasteurized milk, cheese and other dairy products), cholera (infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea), bubonic plague (the commonest form of plague in humans).

How it works

Oxytetracycline belongs to a class of drugs called tetracyclines. It inhibits the essential proteins required for growth and multiplication of bacteria, thereby inhibiting its growth.

Common side effects

Nausea, Allergic skin rash, Alterations in thyroid hormone levels, Bulging fontanelle, Inflammation of heart lining, Diarrhoea, Difficulty in swallowing, Inflammation of both the small intestine and the colon, Erythematous rash, Decreased red blood cell count, Esophageal ulcer, Esophagitis, Increased intracranial pressure, Decreased white blood cell count, Loss of appetite, Maculopapular rash, Mouth inflammation, Tongue inflammation, Renal failure, Stomach upset, Teeth discolouration, Tongue discolouration


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Expert advice

  • Always take oxytetracycline 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals as food and some dairy products may interfere with drug absorption.
  • If you are taking oxytetracycline for long-term, you may need periodic laboratory evaluation of organ systems such as blood tests, kidney and liver function tests. 
  • Exercise caution if you are an elderly patient or have renal or hepatic impairment, myasthenia gravis (abnormal, progressive weakness of muscles), and systemic lupus erythematosus (auto immune disease in which immune system attacks its own organs)

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is oxytetracycline is same as tetracycline?
No, both the drugs are different. 
Q. Can I take oxytetracycline for cystitis/tonsillitis/gum infection?
Oxytetracycline can be taken for cystitis and gum infection but not in case of tonsillitis. Please follow your doctor's advice regarding its use.
Q. Does oxytetracycline cause weight gain?
No, it doesn’t cause weight gain. However, consult your doctor if you experience such side effect.
Q. Does oxytetracycline affect the contraceptive implant?
No, oxytetracycline doesn’t affect contraceptive implants.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)