Highlights for clindamycin
- Clindamycin oral capsule is available as a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Cleocin.
- Clindamycin also comes as an oral solution, topical foam, topical gel, topical lotion, topical swab topical solution, vaginal suppository, and vaginal cream. In addition, it’s available as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
- Clindamycin is used to treat certain bacterial infections.
FDA warning: Severe diarrhea
- 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.
- 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 warning: 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 oral capsule is a prescription medication that’s 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.
Clindamycin is also available as an oral solution, topical foam, topical gel, topical lotion, topical swab, topical solution, vaginal suppository, and vaginal cream. In addition, it’s available as an intravenous (IV) drug, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
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. 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.
Clindamycin side effects
Clindamycin oral capsule doesn’t cause drowsiness. However, it does cause other side effects.
More common side effects
Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of clindamycin oral capsule include:
- stomach pain
- 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 911 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
- 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
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.
Clindamycin may interact with other medications
Clindamycin oral capsule 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.
Drugs you should not use with clindamycin
Do not take erythromycin with clindamycin. Doing so can block the effects of clindamycin. This interaction may make your infection worse.
Interactions that can make your drugs less effective
When clindamycin is used with certain drugs, it may not work as well to treat your condition. This is because the amount of clindamycin in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:
- Drugs called CYP3A4 inducers, such as rifampicin. These drugs may reduce how much clindamycin your body absorbs.
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.
This drug comes with several warnings.
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 911 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).
Warnings for people with certain health conditions
For 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.
For people with allergies: If you’re likely to develop allergies, ask your doctor whether this drug is safe for you.
For 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.
Warnings for other groups
For pregnant women: Studies of pregnant women in their second and third trimesters have not shown any negative effects.
During the first trimester, this drug should only be used if clearly needed. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals during the first trimester haven’t shown a risk to the fetus. However, animal studies don’t always predict the way humans would respond. There haven’t been enough studies done in pregnant women during the first trimester to show if the drug poses a risk to a human pregnancy during that time.
Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
For women who are breastfeeding: 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. Your doctor may suggest that you switch to a different medication.
For seniors: If you’re older than 65, you may not be able to tolerate the diarrhea this drug may cause. Your doctor may watch you more closely.
How to take clindamycin
This dosage information is for clindamycin 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
Forms and strengths
- Form: oral capsule
- Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg
- Form: oral capsule
- Strengths: 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg
Dosage for bacterial infections
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)
If your child can’t swallow clindamycin capsules whole, they should not take the capsules. Talk to your doctor about using the oral solution instead.
- 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.
Take as directed
Clindamycin oral capsule is used for short-term treatment. It 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:
- 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 911 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.
Important considerations for taking clindamycin
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes clindamycin oral capsule for you.
- You can take this drug with or without food.
- Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
- Not every pharmacy stocks all forms of this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.
- Store clindamycin at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
- 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.
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.
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.
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.