Clindamycin Oral Capsule | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

clindamycin, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Cleocin
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Highlights for clindamycin

Oral capsule
1

Clindamycin is used to treat certain bacterial infections.

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This drug is available in many forms. It comes as an oral capsule, oral solution, topical foam, topical gel, topical lotion, topical swab, topical solution, vaginal suppository, and vaginal cream. It’s also available as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

3

Clindamycin oral capsule is available as the brand-name drug Cleocin. It’s also available as a generic drug.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Severe diarrhea warning. Almost all antibiotics, including clindamycin, can cause Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. This condition can cause mild diarrhea or severe inflammation of your colon. Severe cases of the reaction may be fatal (cause death). You should only take this drug if you have a serious infection.

Skin effects

This drug can cause serious skin reactions. These reactions may be fatal (cause death). If you have a serious skin reaction, stop taking this drug and call your doctor right away. Symptoms can include rash, peeling skin, and swelling of your face or tongue. They also include blisters on your skin or blisters in or around your nose, mouth, and eyes.

Finish taking your drug

You must finish the entire course of treatment of this drug as prescribed by your doctor. Don’t stop taking the drug or skip doses if you start to feel better. Doing so could cause your infection to last longer. You could also develop a resistance to the medication. This means that if you get a bacterial infection again, clindamycin may not work to treat it.

What is clindamycin?

Clindamycin is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral capsule, oral solution, topical foam, topical gel, topical lotion, topical swab, topical solution, vaginal suppository, and vaginal cream. It’s also available as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider. 

The oral capsule is available as the brand-name drug Cleocin. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Why it's used

Clindamycin is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria. These infections include acne and bacterial vaginosis. 

How it works

Clindamycin belongs to a class of drugs called antibiotics.

More Details

How it works

Clindamycin belongs to a class of drugs called antibiotics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Clindamycin works by stopping bacteria from multiplying. This drug should only be used to treat bacterial infections. It shouldn’t be used for viruses, such as the common cold.

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clindamycin Side Effects

Oral capsule

More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of clindamycin include:

  • stomach pain

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • rash

  • metallic or unpleasant taste in your mouth

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Symptoms can include:

    • severe diarrhea
    • bloody diarrhea
    • stomach cramping and pain
    • fever
    • dehydration
    • loss of appetite
    • weight loss
  • Severe skin rashes, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Symptoms can include:

    • severe rash
    • peeling skin
    • swollen face or tongue
    • blisters on your skin or blisters in or around your nose, mouth, and eyes
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Clindamycin doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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clindamycin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Clindamycin can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not use with clindamycin

Do not take these drugs with clindamycin. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in the body. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • Erythromycin. Taking these drugs together can block the effects of clindamycin. This interaction may make your infection worse. 

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Clindamycin warnings
gastrointestinal disease
People with gastrointestinal disease

If you have a gastrointestinal issue, such as inflammation of your colon, ask your doctor whether this drug is safe for you. This drug can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of your colon. This can make your condition worse.

allergies
People with allergies

If you’re likely to develop allergies, ask your doctor whether this drug is safe for you.

severe liver disease
People with severe liver disease

If you have liver problems or a history of liver disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of clindamycin in your body and cause more side effects. Your doctor may test your liver function before and during your treatment with this drug.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Clindamycin is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown a risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus. 

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Animal studies do not always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed. 

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Clindamycin passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

seniors
For seniors

If you’re older than 65 years, you may not be able to tolerate the diarrhea this drug may cause. Your doctor may watch you more closely.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if your infection isn’t better after you use this drug. This drug may take 2–3 days to work.

allergies
Allergies

Clindamycin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • hives or other serious skin reactions, such as rash, peeling skin, or blisters
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat

Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these symptoms. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take clindamycin (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Serious bacterial infections

Generic: clindamycin

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg

Brand: Cleocin

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Serious infections: 150–300 mg taken every 6 hours
  • More severe infections: 300–450 mg taken every 6 hours
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)
  • Serious infections: 8–16 mg/kg of body weight per day taken in 3–4 equally divided doses
  • More severe infections: 16–20 mg/kg of body weight per day taken in 3–4 equally divided doses

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Clindamycin comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all

If you don’t take this drug, your infection won’t get better. It may even get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • diarrhea 
  • convulsions (sudden movements caused by tightening of the muscles)
  • temporary paralysis (loss of the ability to move)
  • low blood pressure

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms and infection should get better.

Clindamycin is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking clindamycin
take this drug with or without food
You can take this drug with or without food
timing
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
storage
Store this drug carefully
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medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
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Travel
Travel
See Details
Clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks all forms of this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead

Store this drug carefully

  • Store clindamycin at room temperature. Keep it between 68ºF and 77ºF (20ºC and 25ºC).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You may need to have your liver function monitored while you take this drug. This will help make sure that your liver is working well during treatment.

This monitoring may be done using:

  • Liver function tests. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your liver is working. If your liver isn’t working well, your doctor may have you stop taking this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does clindamycin Cost?

Oral capsule

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Lowest price for clindamycin

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for clindamycin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on April 16, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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