Although the tetracyclines stain the enamel of growing teeth and are taken up in the bones of younger patients, they still have great use in some clinical situations. They are the drugs of choice for particular pathogens in older children and provide alternatives for younger patients who have certain serious infections.

Tetracyclines are bacteriostatic agents, inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis by binding reversibly to the bacterial ribosome’s 30 S subunit and blocking interactions between the aminoacyl tRNAs and the ribosome’s aminoacyl-tRNA acceptor site.

Several tetracyclines are available in the United States, including short-acting agents such as tetracycline and oxytetracycline and long-acting agents such as doxycycline and minocycline. Tetracyclines,doxycycline, and minocycline have liquid formulations.

Absorption following oral doses varies from drug to drug and occurs principally in the proximal small intestine. More than 90% of doxycycline and minocycline oral doses are absorbed; absorption of the others ranges from 58% to 77%. Food...

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