Skip to Content



Brian J. Werth

, PharmD, University of Washington School of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020

Tigecycline is the only antibiotic in an antibiotic class called glycylcyclines, which are related to tetracyclines.

Tigecycline works by preventing bacteria from producing proteins they need to grow and multiply.

This drug is effective against many resistant bacteria, including those with resistance to tetracyclines. However, the risk of dying is higher with tigecycline than with other antibiotics. Thus, tigecycline is used only if no alternatives are available. Tigecycline is given intravenously.


Common Uses

Some Side Effects

Complicated abdominal infections and complicated skin infections due to susceptible bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus (including those resistant to methicillin [such as MRSA]), and bacteria that require little or no oxygen to live (anaerobes)

Gastrointestinal upset

Sensitivity to sunlight

Permanent staining of teeth in the fetus if used late in pregnancy or if taken by children under 8 years of age

A higher risk of death than other antibiotics (thus tigecycline is used only if no alternatives are available)

(See also Overview of Antibiotics.)

Use of Tigecycline During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

When taken during pregnancy, tigecycline, like tetracyclines, may have harmful effects on tooth and bone development in the fetus, but sometimes the benefits of treatment may outweigh the risks. (See also Drug Use During Pregnancy.)

Whether tigecycline is safe to use during breastfeeding is unknown. (See also Drug Use During Breastfeeding.)

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Tigecycline TYGACIL

Copyright © 2021 Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside of the US, Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA. All rights reserved. Merck Manual Disclaimer