|Clindamycin may cause colitis, an infection of the colon that can be dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. If you experience any of the following symptoms while taking clindamycin or within a few weeks of stopping clindamycin, call your doctor immediately: severe persistent diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, or bloody stool. Talk to your doctor about the risk of taking clindamycin.|
Why is this medication prescribed?
Clindamycin, an antibiotic, is used to treat infections of the respiratory tract, skin, pelvis, vagina, and abdomen. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Clindamycin comes as a capsule and liquid to take by mouth; topical solution, lotion, and gel for skin infections; and vaginal cream. Clindamycin usually is taken every 6 hours for respiratory, pelvis, or abdomen infections or applied twice a day for acne. Shake the oral liquid well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Drink a full glass of water after each dose (capsules and oral liquid).
For acne, it may take up to 12 weeks for the full effect of the drug to be seen. Shake the topical lotion well before each use. Apply this liquid, the solution, or the gel in a thin film after washing and drying the skin thoroughly. Avoid getting the medication in your eyes and mouth or on broken skin; if you do, use plenty of water to wash the drug away.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take clindamycin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
For vaginal infections, clindamycin is used once a day, at bedtime, for 7 days. Clindamycin cream for the vagina comes with a special applicator. The dose should be applied when you lie down to go to bed. The medicine works best if you do not get up again after applying the drug except to wash your hands and the applicator. Read the directions provided with it and follow these steps:
- Fill the special applicator that comes with the cream to the level indicated.
- Lie on your back with your knees drawn upward and spread apart.
- Gently insert the applicator into your vagina and push the plunger to release the medication.
- Withdraw the applicator and wash it with soap and warm water.
- Wash your hands promptly to avoid spreading the infection.
You may wish to wear a sanitary napkin while using the vaginal cream to protect your clothing against stains. Do not use a tampon because it will absorb the drug. Do not douche unless your doctor tells you to do so. Continue using clindamycin vaginal cream even if you get your period during treatment.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking clindamycin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to clindamycin, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins. If you are using topical clindamycin, ask your doctor for advice on using other acne medications (e.g., benzoyl peroxide) and cosmetics. Some cosmetics make acne worse and interfere with the effectiveness of this medication.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had gastrointestinal, liver, or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using clindamycin, call your doctor.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Do not apply a missed topical dose.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from clindamycin are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
Tell your doctor if any these symptoms are severe or do not go away while using clindamycin vaginally or on your skin:
- dry skin
- redness or irritation
- itching or burning
If you experience the following symptom, or any of those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, stop taking clindamycin and call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to clindamycin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish the clindamycin, call your doctor.