Background: Minocycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that is widely used to treat infections and is a first-line oral antibiotic in the treatment of moderate to severe inflammatory acne. Although it has high efficacy, several adverse reactions, including life-threatening ones, have been reported in association with its use.
Objective: To identify all the potential adverse reactions due to minocycline and analyze them in terms of the number of cases reported so far, salient features, severity and clinical outcome.
Methods: Comprehensive PubMed search of English and non-English literature for case reports of adverse reactions to minocycline was conducted.
Results: A total of 550 cases were identified from over 200 publications. The major reported adverse events caused by minocycline are drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms syndrome, autoimmune syndromes like hepatitis, lupus and vasculitis, acute eosinophilic pneumonia, pseudotumor cerebri, hyperpigmentation, serum sickness-like reaction, Sweet’s syndrome and drug fever. Several other reactions involving multiple organ systems have also been reported. These show an overlap of clinical features and may be associated with multiple events causing considerable morbidity. Eight of these cases resulted in the death of the patients.
Conclusion: In view of the evident potential of minocycline to cause long-lasting and severe adverse effects, significant morbidity and even mortality, it should be prescribed with caution in the first-line treatment for moderate to severe acne.