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Clindamycin

(Klin-da-MY-sin)

For the treatment of serious bacterial infections

Disclaimer

The content on this page is not medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage are right for you.

Last updatedJuly 27, 2021

Clindamycin

Clindamycin is used to treat certain types of bacterial infections, including infections of the lungs, skin, blood, female reproductive organs, and internal organs.

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Generic name

Cleocin HCl
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Rx or OTC

Available by prescription only

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Clindamycin can lead to overgrowth of dangerous bacteria (Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile) in the large intestine, which can lead to life-threatening colitis (inflammation of the large intestine).

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When & How

  • Dosage depends on the type of infection being treated, but it is usually taken every 6 hours (3 to 4 times per day).
  • Take with a full glass of water to avoid irritating your throat.
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Do’s

  • Take clindamycin exactly as prescribed by your doctor (not more or less than prescribed).
  • Try to take clindamycin at the same time every day.
  • If you skip a dose, take as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose (do not double your regular dose).
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Don’ts

  • Do not stop taking clindamycin when symptoms improve. Not finishing your full prescription could decrease its effectiveness and allow bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.
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Discuss with your doctor

  • If your symptoms do not improve after a few days of treatment
  • If you are allergic to clindamycin, lincomycin (Lincocin), or any other medication
  • If you are allergic to aspirin or tartrazine (yellow dye)
  • If you have a history of asthma, allergies, eczema, or kidney or liver disease
  • Any nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, or herbal products you are currently taking
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant; contact your doctor if you become pregnant.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the surgeon or dentist that you are taking clindamycin.
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What is Clindamycin?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial infections. It works by slowing the growth of bacteria that are causing an infection.

Clindamycin is effective against certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pneumococcus bacteria. It is not effective against all types of bacteria, so your doctor may need to confirm the bacteria causing the infection before prescribing clindamycin.

Due to serious safety concerns, clindamycin is often reserved for people who are unable to take penicillin or other less toxic antibiotics.

Clindamycin is not effective against infections caused by viruses, including colds and flu.

It is available by prescription only.

Clindamycin dosages
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Tablets

  • 75 mg
  • 150 mg
  • 300 mg

Similar drugs to Clindamycin

  • Lincomycin (Lincocin)

Side effects

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Common side effects

Call your doctor if any of these become severe or do not go away within a few days:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unpleasant or metallic taste in the mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • White patches in the mouth
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge
  • Burning, itching, and swelling of the vagina

Serious side effects include (seek urgent medical care)

  • Peeling or blistering skin
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Decreased urination

These side effects can occur up to several months after treatment has ended. Call your doctor for immediate treatment:

  • Watery or bloody stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

Full list of side effects

Infections

  • C. difficile colitis

Gastrointestinal

  • Abdominal pain
  • Colitis
  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Skin and mucous membranes

  • Itchy, swelling, red, or peeling skin
  • Inflammation of the vagina

Liver and kidney

  • Jaundice
  • Liver problems that lead to abnormal liver function tests.
  • Kidney problems that lead to abnormal kidney function tests.

Immune System

  • A reaction called DRESS (drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms) can cause a long-lasting severe skin rash that also attacks internal organs.

Musculoskeletal

  • Arthritis

Long-term complications

  • The risk of Clostridium difficile colitis, a potentially life-threatening overgrowth of bacteria in the large intestine, can occur months after taking clindamycin. Symptoms include diarrhea, watery or bloody stools, stomach cramps, or fever.

Safety notes

  • Hypersensitivity reactions, including mild-to-moderate skin rashes, severe (life-threatening) skin reactions, hives, or anaphylaxis.
  • If you have allergic dermatitis or asthma, you may have an increased risk of an allergic response to antibiotics, including clindamycin.

What else you should know

Older adults should be extremely careful when taking clindamycin because of a greater risk of severe diarrhea.

Clindamycin interactions

Disclaimer

Medications may affect individuals differently. Usage of any medication may include side effects and other interactions. Here is a list of known common side effects and interactions. This list is not exhaustive -- there may be other side effects or interactions for this medication that are not listed here. In some cases, the likelihood of side effects or interactions may increase depending on dosage. It’s important to keep in mind that in extreme cases, other serious side effects, even death, may occur. Always consult your health care provider or pharmacist to determine what medication and dosage is right for you.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medications or supplements

Clindamycin may interact with or enhance the action of other medications. Pay special attention to the following:

  • Clindamycin may increase the effect of certain drugs used to relax muscles prior to surgery or in patients treated in critical care.
  • Taking certain drugs that affect the CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 metabolic pathways may change concentrations of clindamycin. Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking during treatment, including over-the-counter medications.

Tell your doctor if you have any of these pre-existing conditions

  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • History of gastrointestinal disease, particularly colitis
  • History of allergic dermatitis or asthma
  • Kidney or liver disorders

Clindamycin pricing

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