Brand Name:Apo-Clindamycin, Dalacin C, Gen-Clindamycin, Novo-Clindamycin, Ratio-Clindamycin, Dalacin C Flavoured Granules for liquid suspension

Prescription needed: Yes

What is this drug used for?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat various infections, including infections of  the respiratory tract,  skin (including acne), pelvic, vaginal, and abdominal infections. May be used as a preventative treatment prior to dental procedures and to treat tooth infections.

Is there any reason not to take this drug?

You should not take clindamycin if you are allergic to it or lincomycin. . If you have an allergy to doxorubicin you should tell your doctor.  Before taking this medication, tell your doctor specifically if you have or have ever had:
  • colitis or serious inflammation of the digestive tract
  • liver  problems
Always disclose your full medical history with the medical team that is taking care of you, in order for them to provide you with the safest and most effective care.

What about possible side effects?

This medication is usually well tolerated but you should be aware of some potential side effects. The following side effects are more common and can be quite bothersome, but unless they are severe, you should continue taking cephalexin as prescribed. Contact your doctor or pharmacist to get advice on how to manage these side effects.

The most common side effects are:
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness caused by a low blood pressure reaction
  • headache
  • vaginal fungal infection or vaginal irritation
Other less common and  side effects include:
  • mild hives or rash
  • constipation
  • joint pain or muscle pain
  • throat irritation
Antibiotics may make you prone to oral thrush infections and vaginal yeast infections. Contact your doctor or pharmacist regarding treatments.

These side effects may be related to the dose, the use of other medications and other factors (e.g. older age, other medical conditions).  As well, some of these side effects may go away with time. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether you have any risk factors that may make you more sensitive to these side effects.  Contact your doctor if these symptoms continue or become worse.

If you have severe and persistent diarrhea, fever,  bloody stool or severe stomach cramps call your doctor immediately. These could be signs of antibiotic-associated colitis, an infection of the colon that can be very dangerous if left untreated.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following more serious side effects:
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • hives all over the body or near the face and throat
  • itching all over the body
  • severe skin rash
  • swelling of the lips, face or tongue
  • wheezing
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes, or dark urine
This is not a complete list of side effects. If you are concerned about these or other unusual symptoms while taking this medication, ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for more information and advice.

What if I am taking other drugs?

Always provide your doctor with a list of all other drugs you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural products) as they may interact with and/or change the safety or effectiveness of either drug. Tell your doctor specifically if you are taking any of these drugs as these are the most common interactions and he/she may need to make changes or monitor you more closely:

  • erythromycin  – may reduce effectiveness of either clindamycin
  • St John’s Wort – may reduce effectiveness of clindamycin
  • neuromuscular blocking agents (e.g. tubocurarine, pancuronium) – clindamycin may prolong the effects
  • primaquine – using clindamycin with primaquine is usually safe but some people are at a higher risk of blood-related side effects – speak to your doctor if you are using this combination
  • typhoid vaccine e.g. Vivotif – wait at least 24 hours after stopping clindamycin to vaccinate with the oral typhoid vaccine
  • birth control pills – there have been case reports suggesting antibiotics may decrease how well your birth control pills work to prevent pregnancy. While this interaction is unlikely, for peace of mind, consider using an additional method of birth control (i.e. condom) for the rest of that cycle
  • diarrhea remedies medicine with kaolin or attapulgite listed as an ingredient – will reduce the effectiveness of clindamycin
This is not a complete list of drug interactions.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your list of medications.

Other information:

Special instructions: The rare but serious side effect of antibiotic-associated colitis may start as a mild, persistent diarrhea then progress to a more serious bloody diarrhea in combination with fever. Do not use over the counter diarrhea remedies without speaking to your doctor first. In the meantime you should continue to drink plenty of fluids (juices, Gatorade, Gastrolyte, Pedialyte for children) to prevent dehydration. This side effect may start up to 4 weeks after finishing your treatment with clindamycin. If your doctor is not readily available, consult with your pharmacist or call Telehealth.

Take clindamycin oral capsules with a full glass of water to reduce risk of throat irritation.

Dietary precautions: None. Taking this drug with food may decrease the side effects on the stomach.
Some of the stomach-related side effects may be minimized if you add some yoghurt or buttermilk to your diet while on a course of clindamycin

Children: Should not be used in newborns less than 30 days old, but otherwise safely used in appropriate doses.

Safely used in appropriate doses but may be at higher risk of antibiotic-associated colitis.

Pregnancy:  Safely used.

Women who are nursing: This drug passes into breast milk in low concentrations. There are some risks of side effects in the infant but the importance of treating the mother’s infection has to be considered as well Consult with your doctor. 

People who drive or operate machinery: No known problems.

Overdose: A large dose may cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If an overdose is suspected or if you  experience any unusual symptoms contact your doctor.

Stopping the drug:   In order to clear up your infection completely, you must take clindamycin for the entire prescribed course of treatment even if you feel better.

If you miss a dose: Take any missed dose as soon as possible, then continue as prescribed on your medication bottle. Taking cephalexin around the clock as prescribed will ensure optimal effect. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Storage conditions: Store according to package directions, particularly for liquid suspension which should be kept at room temperature, NOT in the fridge. Oral capsules can be store in a closed container; cool, dry location away from excess moisture (not in the bathroom); direct light, always out of reach of children.

Alcohol: No specific problems. If you drink, always drink in moderation.