SEP 09, 2018 4:30 PM PDT

Black Hairy Tongue - A Shocking Antibiotic Side Effect

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

A 55-year-old woman has experienced a rare, shocking side effect of antibiotics; she was recovering from a car accident in the hospital and complained of a bad taste in her mouth. After she was examined, it was discovered that hair had grown on her tongue. 

The woman had been prescribed antibiotics after she developed an infection in her injuries. It is thought that minocycline was to blame. Other antibiotics or habits like smoking or heavy consumption of black tea or coffee can also cause the condition, which is relatively benign. Hairy tongue is more common than you might think; around one percent of people in the US have it - but the hair is usually a yellowish color. 

In the case of this patient, stopping the use of the antibiotic and improving oral hygiene was enough to make the black hair go away within a few weeks.

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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