Solodyn (Extended Release Minocycline) for Acne

Close up of woman with acne
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Solodyn is a brand name for extended-release minocycline. It is taken orally, in a tablet, and used to treat moderate to severe inflammatory acne vulgaris.

Solodyn only works for those red, pus-filled pimples and papules. It won't improve non-inflammatory breakouts like blackheads and whiteheads.

Solodyn is available in five different strengths. Your dermatologist will determine the strength you need based on your weight. It can be used by children 12 years and older, as well as adults with acne.

How It Works

Solodyn belongs to a group of antibiotics called tetracyclines.

It improves acne by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Don't worry, this bacteria doesn't mean your hygiene is lacking or that you're "unclean." This bacteria is a normal resident of the skin. In people with acne, the bacteria sometimes grow out of control. There's also some indication that people with acne are just more sensitive to bacteria as well.

Solodyn also helps to decrease inflammation. So, those red and swollen breakouts shrink while using this medication.

Solodyn is a bit different from regular minocycline because it slowly releases medication over time. This allows for a more steady level of the medication in your body, allowing it to work more effectively.

Because bacteria isn't the only acne-causing culprit, you'll more than likely use Solodyn along with another acne treatment medication. Benzoyl peroxide, for example, or topical retinoids. These medications target some of the other causes of acne, like clogged pores.

It can take 12 full weeks before you really start to see an improvement in your skin. Try to be patient.

Ideally, you will be slowly weaned off of oral antibiotics after you’ve seen good improvement of your skin. You’ll still need to use your topical acne medications, though, otherwise, pimples will come back.

Solodyn isn’t the only minocycline medication. You can get generic extended-release minocycline. Immediate-release minocycline is also available. Your dermatologist will decide which, if any, oral antibiotic is best for you.

How to Use Solodyn

Solodyn is taken once a day. You can take it at any time that suits you. Choose a time that is convenient and will be easy for you to remember. You do need to take it at the same time every day though.

Although Solodyn can be taken on an empty stomach, some physicians recommend taking it with food. Ask your dermatologist how she wants you to take your medication.

Possible Side Effects

Just like with any medication, Solodyn can cause side effects. Before you take it, your dermatologist will give you a rundown of what to expect and be on the lookout for. But the most common side effects are:

  • lightheadedness or dizziness
  • headache
  • itchiness
  • tiredness

If you get severe diarrhea or severe headaches while you’re using this medication, you’ll want to let your doctor know ASAP.

Minocycline does come with a higher risk of serious side effects compared to other tetracycline antibiotics. Although it’s very rare, there is a risk of drug-induced lupus. This risk increases the longer you use minocycline, so it’s best to use it for the shortest time possible. Luckily, this usually goes away once the drug is stopped.

Minocycline can also cause bluish discolorations on the skin, gums and teeth, nails and the white part of the eye. Again, this is uncommon and more likely with long-term use.

If any issues arise, or if you have questions, let your physician know right away.

Don’t Use Solodyn If

If you’re allergic to tetracycline antibiotics, you can't use Solodyn.

Solodyn is best used by those over the age of 12. If used by younger children, it can cause permanent tooth discoloration.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use Solodyn. Solodyn is an FDA Pregnancy Category D medication and can harm a developing fetus. Also, men shouldn’t take Solodyn if you’re trying to conceive a child with your partner.

There may be other reasons why Solodyn isn’t a good treatment choice for you, so have a discussion with your dermatologist.

Solodyn isn’t the only acne treatment choice for moderate to severe acne. Other oral acne medications or prescription topical treatments might be a more appropriate choice for you. 


Don't chew or break the tablets. Solodyn tablets are meant to dissolve slowly, giving a steady dose of medication over time. If you break the tablet before you take it, you'll get too much medication at one time.

Take your medication at the same time every day. Take it with your morning coffee, just after dinner, or whenever it is convenient, so long as you're consistent. If you take one pill in the morning one day, and then in the evening the next, it won’t work as well. You’ll have too much medication in your system at once, and not enough at other times.

Give your dermatologist a call if you have questions. Your dermatologist is there to help you. Don’t hesitate to give their office a call if you have questions or concerns about your treatment.

A Word From Verywell

Treating acne can be overwhelming. There are so many treatment options available, all with benefits and drawbacks.

If your dermatologist has prescribed Solodyn for you, rest assured there's a good reason. Remember, everyone's acne treatment looks different because everyone's skin and the situation is different.

Try to follow your acne treatment plan exactly, give it enough time (at least three months) to work, and let your dermatologist know if you have any questions or concerns.

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