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Long term antibiotic use for acne (minocycline/tetracycline)

Discussion in 'Latest ME/CFS Research' started by Paul M, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Paul M

    Paul M

    Boston, Massachusetts
    Around 2004, I started using tetracycline for acne and I think I switched to minocycline for some reason about 2007 and kept using it daily until 2010 (when my doctor said to stop using it when I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism). I've read a little about long term antibiotic use and links to CFS, but was wondering if this community knew of the latest information on this link? It sucks that taking a drug for 6 years for something as minor as Acne may be crushing me right now.

  2. Gamboa

    Gamboa Senior Member

    I was on and off various antibiotics for acne ( tetracycline, erythromycin) for many years starting when I was 13 years old until I was 35. I also had two courses of accutane along the way. This was back in the 70's and 80's when nobody knew that antibiotics were damaging all the good bacteria in the guts and wreaking havoc on my body. When I was 35 , and on a few month course of antibiotics I developed septicemia with E. coli ( E coli was in my blood stream). I was treated by yet more antibiotics, which were necessary to stop me from dying. It was never determined how the bacteria got into my blood, either the GI route or UT route most likely but the perpetual use of antibiotics was considered the cause.I was feeling fine in the morning and went to work and by evening was in the hospital with a raging fever and chills.

    After this, I developed mild ME/CFS which over the years has become worse. The last five years I have been unable to work and I'm now on permanent disability at age 49.

    No one will ever be able to say for sure that antibiotic use caused my ME/CFS but I think it is one contributing factor.

    All I can suggest is the do everything possible to fix your gut and replace your good gut bacteria with probiotics.

  3. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

    australia (brisbane)
    im on doxy the latests time for over 12 months, the only thing that seems to really help sinusitis. I use either nystatin or sacchromyce bouldarii which help with possible fungal gut issues, as well as probiotic courses here and there. Only side effect i have had to be careful is that u burn easier in the sun.
  4. beaverfury

    beaverfury beaverfury

    West Australia
    Yep. I used antibiotics for acne as a teenager.
  5. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

    I don't know what the latest information is on CFS and previous AB use. Never seen research on that topic but it may be out there somewhere.

    It may be for some people that taking AB's causes stomach problems that lead to fatigue. Others may have an underlying pathogen that gets worse after AB treatment for another bacteria or whatever. Not sure how AB use could lead to Hypothyroidism.

    My other half took AB's for acne and is well otherwise (even after a long exposure to me and I have a viral type ME).

    Sorry to hear that you took AB's for so long and now have CFS or does the hypothyroidism explain all of your symptoms?

    Hopefully others here will know more about any AB and CFS research.
  6. LaurieL

    LaurieL Senior Member

    What I found is that most acne cases requiring antibiotic therapy, the acne is of gram negative origin and a high percentage are enteric in origin. E coli and klebsiella especially. These two have the plasmids to confer lateral transfer of resistance genes to other bacteria's, including each other. With subsequent exposure to changing and long term use of antibiotics, this is how the breeding of superbugs occur.

    Someone mentioned E coli in their bloodstream. If an injury whether slight or not were to occur, the resistant bacteria can get there. If in the GI tract and leaky gut, or the medical term called bacterial translocation occur, then the bacteria can go into the mesenteric lymph, to the capillaries, to the portal vein, and become systemic as well. The urinary tract, is usually confined, unless there is reflux into the kidneys. You will find with the enterics, the liver and kidneys are both highly correlated with cystic masses of these bacteria.

    The epithelial tissues have many tiny blood vessels in which the bacteria can access when they attach to epithelial cells. Kidney, skin, mucous membranes, intestinal walls, etc. It is what makes these areas so tough to treat with antibiotics, as the vessels are small and exposure must be high enough to the antibiotic to be bacteriocidal, but with tiny vasculature, is next to impossible due to these tiny vessels. A good example would be chronic sinus infections.

    It is difficult to get at the gram negatives that produce the polysaccharide capsules and copious thick biofilm. E coli produces certain types of pili for attachment, and they are motile as well. You could stay on antibiotics for years, and still not get them all. All it would take is one tiny niche to start the process all over again, and is why many find themselves going on and off antibiotics for years. Since the same infection comes back, they change the antibiotic because they think it isn't working, and the process just keeps going.

    Brief, but I hope this helps.

    So perhaps its not the antibiotics per se, albeit a contributor...

  7. LaurieL

    LaurieL Senior Member

    I guess I found this thread interesting because I have been on and off antibiotics my whole life, not for acne, but I absolutely developed it late in life. I wanted to contribute again with something I had found personally relevant.

    Each antibiotic has a pharmacological affect, and each is capable of interfering with pathways in the bacteria.....but some also affect the human cells and their biological function. I found it relevant that the antibiotics I have found made me the sickest are the ones in which interfere with folic acid metabolism in the bacteria and me as well. I can't imagine with the SNP's I have, what suppressing affect those antibiotics had. To me, it isn't any wonder why my methylation cycle wasn't functioning.

    I also found it interesting that some of the P450 pathways that process these antibiotics had mutations in them, affecting my bodies ability to break them down into the appropriate metabolites, and there for I suspect, affecting the antibiotics efficacy as well. Without methylation, without the ability to detoxify the antibiotic metabolites, or the bacterial by products, I was lucky to get out of bed to use the loo. Things are much better now.

  8. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

    WA, USA
    one problem with acne is that they used to have a very good OTC treatment, hexachlorophine, which was sold as PhisoHex. I believe at that time it was also in Dial soap which nurses used (my grandma does and she was a nurse at one time; I think she told me nurses used it and I think this was said in microbiology class also, not sure however).

    However there was a nursery which was stupidly bathing babies directly in hexacholorphine rather than using it to clean the counters as they should have been doing. These babies developed neurological problems and the FDA yanked the product. However they have re-introduced it by prescription only. One of the indicated uses is to control staph outbreaks in nurseries, and my microbiology teacher said that this was the closest (at the time I took the course some 10 years ago) the FDA had ever come to admitting a mistake.

    Anyway one can get hexaclorophine soap by prescription, which I think using topically would be better than taking antibiotics internally.

    One thing to watch out for when using antibiotics is a C diff. infection. If you have diarrhea for 3 days or more, especially if any of it is watery, go straight to the doctor and tell them you have diarrhea and have been using antibiotics, and be sure they test for this.

    If your ME/CFS is caused by microbiota disturbance, then it may be treatable.
  9. helios


    I was on tetracycline for acne back in my teens. I regret it. My acne was not that bad, and I could have tried other options, but others I knew were on it and it helped them, so I got some from my doctor, and took it indiscriminately over a number of years, while at the same time eating lots of junk food in the quest to put on weight. It was around this time I started to develop pain in the bowel and food intolerances and chemical sensitivities and increased anxiety and brain fog. I ended up crashing with CFS from over doing weight lifting a few years later.
  10. mi12


    Was doing research to find out if there was any possible connection between antibiotic use and chronic fatigue and the link came back to this forum. All roads lead to Rome it seems. Does anyone have any updates? I was prescribed tetracycline for acne for who knows how long, soon after developed digestion issues (couldn't gain weight despite eating massive amounts of food), and then finally fatigue. I think there's a connection but still don't know how.
  11. sonicthoughts


    I had access to copious amounts of tetracycline and took it for most of my teenage years and early adulthood in the 1970s-80s. Also had many ear infections and more recently sinus infections which i've treated with antibiotics. my CFS has been getting much much worse over the last few years and wonder if there is a connection.
  12. msf

    msf Senior Member

    Just a quick point, overuse of antibiotics resulting in resistance doesn't make those bacteria more pathogenic, it just makes them harder to kill with antibiotics. I think a lot of people are misled by the term 'superbug.'

    Antibiotics definitely have an effect on the gut though, and any changes will have an effect (good or bad) on the immune system.
    ukxmrv likes this.
  13. redaxe

    redaxe Senior Member

    Sinusitis will definitely make you feel like crap even without ME/CFS but it does seem to be a common complaint for many of us.
    What you should firstly do is see an ENT (Ear-Nose Throat specialist and get them to examine your sinuses - this will often include a CT scan. This will be determine if your sinuses are blocked or if the cavities are abnormally small. If there is a problem with the size of the cavities it can cause them to be easily infected and surgery can open them up more. They may suggest other approaches to improve your sinuses.

    I had a bit of luck with using antibiotics but I improved my sinusitis quite a bit by flushing kefir (a type of fermented milk) into my nose and also ears - I home fermented it using a sachet of Kefir grains I bought but I also added a range probiotic strains like Lactobacillus Rhamnosus LGG that you can buy in healthfood stores. There is some speculation that poor microbial diversity can cause sinusitis. Antibiotics may kill the pathogens but you may need to put some beneficial bugs back in to maintain your sinus health if it is lacking to start with.

    To do this you need to
    1)Wash your sinuses out with saline from a neti pot (use boiled water) - this clears the mucous out allowing the bacteria to adhere to your nasal cavity
    2)Fermented kefir or possibly yogurt is probably the best thing to stick up your nose. You can either snort it up into your sinus cavity or use a cotton bud to smear the yogurt deep into the nose.

    That said this is a bit of a 'cutting edge' approach - I can't say if there are risks to doing this. We've worked out that the gut needs a healthy range of probiotic bacteria and yeasts to function correctly but we don't know as much about the sinuses.

    I imagine in the future we'll be able to walk into a store and buy nasal probiotic sprays that have well researched species of probiotic bacteria and yeasts that modulate the immune system but if you're desperate for sinus relief you could give this a try.

    Edit: Here's an interesting article about this and the potential benefit of certain Lactobacillus sakei

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
    ukxmrv likes this.
  14. JPV

    JPV ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹoıuǝs

    I used Tetracycline for acne as a teen too.

    Maybe a poll is in order...
  15. drewmaster

    drewmaster Senior Member

    I did too. That's when my CFS started.

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