What is oral clindamycin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Clindamycin is an antibiotic used for treating serious infections. It is effective again several types of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Propionibacterium acnes. It reduces growth of bacteria by interfering with their ability to make proteins.
  • The FDA approved clindamycin in February 1970.

What brand names are available for clindamycin-oral?


Is clindamycin-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for clindamycin-oral?


What are the uses for oral clindamycin?

  • Clindamycin is used for treatment of serious infections caused by susceptible bacteria. It is most often used for treating penicillin-allergic patients or in other situations where penicillin or other alternative antibiotics cannot be used.
  • Examples of infections that are treated with clindamycin include:
    • Serious respiratory tract infections (for example, empyema, pneumonitis, and lung abscess)
    • Serious skin and soft tissue infections
    • Female pelvic and genital tract infections (for example, endometritis); and ovarian abscess)

What are the side effects of oral clindamycin?

The most common side effects of clindamycin are

Cleocin also frequently causes

Clindamycin causes Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) because it can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage overgrowth Clostridium difficile, a bacteria which causes inflammation of the colon (pseudomembranous colitis). Patients who develop signs of pseudomembranous colitis after starting clindamycin (diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and possibly shock) should contact their physician immediately.

Other serious side effects of clindamycin include:

  • serious allergic reactions
  • blood disorders
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • toxic epidermal necrolysis

What is the dosage for oral clindamycin?

  • The recommended dose for adults for serious infections is 150 to 450 mg every 6 to 8 hours up to a maximum dose of 1.8 grams per day.
  • For pediatric patients the recommended dose is 8 to 20 mg/kg/day divided into 3 or 4 equal doses.
  • To avoid throat irritation, clindamycin should be taken with a full glass of water.

Which drugs or supplements interact with oral clindamycin?

  • Clindamycin may act as a neuromuscular blocker. This means it can increase the action of neuromuscular blocking drugs (for example, pancuronium and vecuronium), which are used during surgery.


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Is oral clindamycin safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • The frequency of congenital abnormalities was not increased when pregnant women used clindamycin during the second and third trimesters. Clindamycin should not be used during the first trimester of pregnancy unless it is clearly needed because it has not been properly evaluated during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Clindamycin is excreted in breast milk and should not be used by nursing mothers or nursing should be stopped.

What else should I know about oral clindamycin?

What preparations of clindamycin-oral are available?
  • Capsule: 75, 150, and 300 mg.
  • Oral Solution: 75 mg/5 ml
How should I keep clindamycin-oral stored?

Clindamycin should be store at room temperature, 20 C to 25 C (68 to 77 F).

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Medically Reviewed on 6/27/2019


REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information