What Is Clindamycin?

Abdominal cramps is a common side effect of clindamycin.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 29 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Clindamycin is a prescription antibiotic that is effective against many different types of severe bacterial infections. The drug is most often used to combat staphylococcus and streptococcus complications that are not responsive to more common antibiotic medications. It comes in capsule and liquid solution forms, and it is usually prescribed to be taken three to four times a day for about two weeks. There are risks of side effects and potentially serious reactions when taking clindamycin, but patients can limit their chances of experiencing health problems by speaking with their doctors and following their prescriptions exactly.

Doctors usually try several other less potent antibiotics before prescribing clindamycin because of its potential to cause major side effects. The drug is sometimes prescribed as a first-course treatment, however, in patients who are allergic to penicillin. It is typically reserved for severe lung infections, but can also be used to combat abscesses in bones, skin, intestines, or other organs.

Clindamycin is a bacterial protein synthesis inhibitor, which means that it works by stopping bacterial cells from growing and reproducing. The drug infiltrates bacterial RNA and prevents the creation of new proteins. As a result, the infection stops spreading and all of the existing pathogens eventually die.

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In most cases, patients are instructed to take carefully measured clindamycin doses every six hours for at least 10 days. The dosage amount can vary based on the type and severity of infection, but most adults take 300 milligram doses. Pediatric patients are generally prescribed smaller amounts, which is determined by age and weight. Both capsules and liquid solutions should be taken with a full glass of water to avoid irritating the throat and the lining of the stomach.

The most common side effects when taking clindamycin are mild bouts of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. A person may also develop temporary flu-like symptoms, such as joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue. The drug can lead to an increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the large intestine, which occasionally results in severe diarrhea with watery or bloody stools for several days. After using clindamycin, a very small number of patients develop a lasting, potentially life-threatening bowel infection called colitis that may require long-term medication use or surgery to correct. Most people who use the drug exactly how it is prescribed and attend regular checkups with their doctors are able to make full recoveries in less than one month of treatment.

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Discuss this Article

burcidi
Post 4

What's the difference between amoxicillin and clindamycin hydrochloride? Is clindamycin stronger?

I have a tooth abscess and was given amoxicillin first. But the infection is still there and now I'm on clindamycin.

SteamLouis
Post 3

@SarahGen-- Yea, all of these are common clindamycin side effects.

Did you take any probiotics before and during your treatment?

I always take probiotics when I'm on antibiotics to replace the good bacteria that the antibiotics wipe out from the gut. You will experience less side effects that way.

SarahGen
Post 2

My doctor prescribed clindamycin HCL to me last month for an infection but it took longer to recover from the clindamycin that it did from the infection.

I've taken different antibiotics before and I've never had so many side effects with any of them. Most of my troubles were gastro-intestinal. I had nausea, diarrhea, lack of appetite, flatulence, basically the works!

I wish my doctor had mentioned all this to me because I would have surely asked for a different antibiotic and wouldn't have to go through all this.

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