Hopkins ABX Guide

Clindamycin Antibiotic

What is Clindamycin and When It is Used?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic from the class of lincosamides. It is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections caused mainly by anaerobic bacteria in the respiratory tract, skin and soft tissues. It is also very effective against some aerobic bacteria but it is generally reserved for people who are allergic to penicillin. It can also be used to treat infections of the bones and joints, and to prevent endocarditis (infection of the heart’s inner lining) in patients going through dental procedures. Topically, it is sometimes used to treat acne.

Like other antibiotics, Clindamycin is used for treatment of bacterial infections only. It isn’t effective for viral infections.

How is Clindamycin Taken/Administered?

Clindamycin is taken orally with or without food, usually at intervals of six hours. The antibiotic is most effective if the dosage is steady which is why it is very important to stick to the recommended schedule. Doctor may adjust the dosage and duration of Clindamycin therapy based on the type and severity of the infection but will also consider factors such as weight, use of other medications, pregnancy/breast-feeding and overall health.

It is crucial to complete the entire course of treatment even if feeling perfectly healthy. Discontinuing taking the medication poses an increased risk of recurrence of the infection because a few bacteria may survive and cause a new infection. Also, improper use is the second leading cause of antibiotic resistance and the emergence of superbugs or strains of bacteria that are resistant to the commonly used antibiotics.

Side Effects of Clindamycin

The majority of people respond well to Clindamycin and don’t develop/experience any unwanted side effects. However, it isn’t uncommon for the antibiotic to cause nausea and diarrhoea. Severe side effects requiring discontinuation of treatment with Clindamycin are rare but it is highly important to pay attention to changes in the amount and colour of urine, yellowing of the skin or/and eyes, heartburn and swelling/pain in the joints. If developing any of the mentioned side effects, contact a doctor immediately.

People taking Clindamycin are at increased risk of intestinal infection with Clostridium difficile which can cause severe diarrhoea. This unwanted side effect is common to the majority of antibiotics but the incidence is higher in people taking Clindamycin.

Severe allergic reactions are very uncommon but if developing a rash, having difficulties breathing, or/and swelling in the face or mouth, seek medical help right away.