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Clindamycin (Antibiotic Agent)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Aug 20, 2022

Clindamycin (Antibiotic Agent)

Clindamycin is an antibiotic which works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Clindamycin belongs to the class of drugs called lincosamides. It is available as topical (local) and systemic (oral and parenteral) dosage forms.


Know the basics

What is clindamycin used for?

How should I take clindamycin?

Capsules should be swallowed whole without chewing, crushing, or opening. Do not open the capsule and dissolve it in liquid. Do not use it as a topical antibiotic. Take it with or without food.

Oral suspensions need to be reconstituted with clean drinking water and shaken thoroughly. Use a medical-grade measuring cup for each dose, not a household spoon.

Topical forms should be applied directly onto the affected areas after gentle cleansing. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling it.

Parenteral (e.g. IV) clindamycin should be administered by a licensed health professional.

How do I store clindamycin?

This product is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. If a suspension is reconstituted, store it in the refrigerator up to 10 days. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. 

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using clindamycin?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe to take clindamycin during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is likely safe to take. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

This medication is pregnancy risk category B according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of clindamycin?

Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Changes in urination
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Anaphylactic reactions
  • Joint pain
  • Increased risk of infection

However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with clindamycin?

Clindamycin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your

This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. 

Drugs with known interactions:

  • Neuromuscular blocking agents
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Macrolides
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Linezolid
  • Warfarin, vitamin K agonists
  • Rifampicin
  • CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 inhibitors
  • Erythromycin

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

Does food or alcohol interact with clindamycin?

This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with clindamycin?

This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • History of stomach or intestinal disease (e.g. colitis)

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

What is the dose for an adult?

Anaerobic infections due to Gram-positive bacteria

  • Oral: Take 150 to 300 mg every 6 hours for moderate infections. For severe infections, take 300-450 mg every 6 hours.
  • Parenteral: Administer 600 to 1200 mg each day. For severe infections, give 1200 to 2700 mg per day, up to 4800 mg. Maximum infusion rate for IV injections is 30 mg per minute.

Acne vulgaris

  • Apply a thin layer to the affected skin two times a day.

Bacterial vaginosis

  • Apply 100 mg (1 application) into the vagina (intravaginally) at bedtime for 3 to 7 days in a row. If you are using a vaginal suppository (pessary) insert 100 mg once a day at bedtime for 3 days.

What is the dose for a child?

Anaerobic infections due to Gram-positive bacteria

  • Oral: For children <12 years, give 3 to 6 mg per kg of body weight every 6 hours.
  • Parenteral: For children >1 month, give 15 to 25 mg per kg of body weight each day. Severe infections require 25 to 40 mg/kg a day, up to 300 mg per day. Give in 3 to 4 divided doses.

How is clindamycin available?

Clindamycin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Capsule 75 mg; 150 mg; 300 mg

Granules for oral solution: 75mg/5mL

Solution for injection: 150 mg/mL (2mL, 4mL ampules)

Soft-gel capsule, vaginal: 100 mg

Topical gel: 1% (with benzoyl peroxide 5%), (15 g, 25 g container)

Topical solution: 1%

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose. Avoid missing doses to prevent antibiotic resistance and treatment failure.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Updated Aug 20, 2022

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