Take your doses spaced out evenly throughout the day, ideally every six hours.
Swallow the capsules with a full glass of water. You can take clindamycin before or after food.
If you develop diarrhoea while you are taking clindamycin, you must contact your doctor for advice before you take any more doses.
|Type of medicine||A lincosamide antibiotic|
|Used for||Treating infections|
|Also called||Dalacin® C|
Clindamycin is an antibiotic which is given to treat serious bacterial infections. It is useful for treating joint and bone infections (such as osteomyelitis), and infections in the abdomen. It is also used to treat tooth infections where other antibiotics have not worked. It works by stopping the bacteria which are the cause of the infection from multiplying.
Clindamycin is also available as a skin preparation for the treatment of acne, and as a cream for use in vaginal infection. There are two separate medicine leaflets available which provide more information about these, called Clindamycin skin preparations for acne and Clindamycin cream for bacterial vaginosis.
Before taking clindamycin
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking clindamycin it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. (Although clindamycin is not known to be harmful to babies, it is still important that you tell your doctor if you are expecting or breast-feeding a baby.)
- If you have any bowel problems which cause you to have diarrhoea.
- If you have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take clindamycin
- Before you start taking clindamycin, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about the medicine and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take clindamycin exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose for adults is 150-300 mg (one or two capsules) four times daily, but the dose may be less than this if it is prescribed for a child. Your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you (or your child), and this information will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you.
- Swallow the capsules with a full glass of water. This is so the capsules do not become lodged in your throat and cause irritation. Do not open the capsules.
- Try to space out your doses evenly throughout the day - so ideally, take a dose every six hours. You can take clindamycin before or after meals.
- If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember. Try to take the correct number of doses each day, but do not take two doses at the same time to make up for any that have been missed.
- Even if you feel your infection has cleared up, keep taking the antibiotic until the course is finished (unless you are told to stop by your doctor). This is to prevent the infection from coming back. A course of treatment usually lasts for a week or so, although it will be for longer than this if you are taking clindamycin for a bone infection. If you still feel unwell after finishing the course of treatment, go back to see your doctor.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Remember to keep any routine appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored. If you are taking clindamycin for more than 10 days, your doctor will want you to have some blood tests to check that your kidneys and liver are working well.
- Some people develop thrush (redness and itching in the mouth or vagina) after taking a course of antibiotics. If you think you have thrush, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
- This antibiotic may stop the oral typhoid vaccine from working. If you are due to have any vaccinations, make sure the person treating you knows that you are taking this medicine.
Can clindamycin cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with clindamycin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Clindamycin side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea||Important: contact your doctor for advice before taking any more doses|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal discomfort||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals. It may help to take your doses after food|
|Itchy skin rash||If this becomes troublesome or severe, let your doctor know|
|Throat irritation||Remember to take the capsules with a full glass of water. If the irritation becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to clindamycin, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
How to store clindamycin
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine, ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Dalacin C® 150 mg Capsules; Pfizer Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2013.
- British National Formulary; 66th Edition (September 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox