What Is Tetracycline Ointment?

Tetracycline ointment is used to treat bacterial infections.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Tetracycline ointment is an antibiotic in topical ointment form. It is used for the treatment and prevention of bacterial skin infections. For example, a person may use this ointment to prevent burns, cuts, and scrapes from becoming infected. In most cases, however, this medication is used for minor wounds rather than those that are more severe in nature. A person may also use this ointment to treat skin infections that have already developed.

An individual may use tetracycline ointment if he has a burn, cut, or other type of wound for the purpose of preventing the growth of bacteria in the wound area. If bacteria is allowed to grow in a wound, it may lead to an infection. Tetracycline is also used to treat a variety active skin infections.

A person who is using tetracycline cream for a skin infection usually is advised to contact his doctor if the ointment fails to improve the skin infection within about two weeks of use. An individual should take care to avoid getting the ointment in his eyes and use a cool-water flush to rinse the eyes if the ointment does get into them. Additionally, tetracycline is usually not recommended for use with deep types of wounds or burns that are severe.

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Interestingly, when a person applies tetracycline to his skin, the ointment may turn the skin it touches yellow. A person can get rid of the yellow coloring by washing the tetracycline ointment off his skin with soap and water. Doctors usually advise patients to keep the ointment on their skin for as long as possible before they wash it off, however. This is due to the fact that the medication needs time to work to fight the infection. Additionally, tetracycline ointment can stain clothing permanently.

Tetracycline cream isn’t typically associated with many side effects, and most people tolerate it well. When it does cause side effects, they may include such things as redness and irritation. In rare cases, a person may also develop blistering or peeling after using this type of antibiotic ointment. Some may experience pain in the area of use as well.

There aren't many things that cause problematic interactions with ointments that contain tetracycline. People are usually advised to avoid using steroid hormone skin products with topical tetracycline, however. Additionally, a person may do well to consult with a doctor before using any other skin product in conjunction with tetracycline ointment.

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Discuss this Article

anon312150
Post 4

Is tetracycline ointment more effective at healing wounds than polysporin? I have a bad habit of picking and popped a very painful (possibly cystic) acne lesion. I don't know if I should use Polysporin or Tetracycline.

SalmonRiver
Post 3

You can buy tetracycline online under the name ‘Sumycin’. I have not purchased it online myself, but have seen it listed on online pharmacy sites. I am leery of those websites.

If you are seeing your doctor, and need a medication, why not go with the doctor’s recommendation or prescribed treatment? Maybe if you have been diagnosed with an infection that requires tetracycline you would want to shop around online to see what kind of prices you could find.

I like to get my medications from a pharmacy in person. Even if I am getting an over the counter drug, I still like to have a pharmacist available if I have any questions.

jellies
Post 2

My son’s dermatologist recommended that he use tetracycline in a topical ointment to treat his acne. The tetracycline medication was applied to the whole area affected, not just directly on the breakouts.

The doctor made sure my son understood it was important to keep using the ointment for the full length of treatment even if his symptoms improved after the first few days. This reminded me of taking oral antibiotics.

He used it one to two times a day for 8 weeks. It helped improve the overall condition of his complexion.

Matis
Post 1

My husband had conjunctivitis last year. He was pretty miserable. I finally talked him in to going to the doctor for treatment. His doctor told him to use a tetracycline eye ointment.

My husband also found that it helped soothe the discomfort he had from pinkeye. He did have some slight irritation immediately after using the ointment. But, the tetracycline helped clear up the infection in just a few days.

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