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Clindamycin Side Effects

Other dosage forms:

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by clindamycin. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking clindamycin:


Cracks in the skin

loss of heat from the body

red, swollen skin scaly skin

Incidence not known:

Abdominal or stomach cramps, pain, or tenderness

black, tarry stools

bleeding gums

blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin


blood in the urine or stools

blurred vision

chest pain


clay-colored stools

cloudy urine


cough or hoarseness

dark urine

decrease in the amount of urine


diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody

difficulty with swallowing


dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position

dry mouth

fast heartbeat

fever with or without chills

general feeling of tiredness or weakness



heart stops

hives or welts, itching, or skin rash

increased thirst

itching of the vagina or genital area

joint or muscle pain

loss of appetite

lower back or side pain

nausea or vomiting

no breathing

no pulse or blood pressure

pain during sexual intercourse

pain in the lower back or side

painful or difficult urination

pinpoint red spots on the skin

puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue

rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin

red skin lesions, often with a purple center

red, irritated eyes

redness of the skin

shortness of breath

sore throat

sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips

swollen glands

thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor


tightness in the chest


unpleasant breath odor

unusual bleeding or bruising

unusual tiredness or weakness

unusual weight loss

vomiting of blood

yellow eyes or skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to clindamycin: compounding powder, injectable solution, intravenous solution, oral capsule, oral powder for reconstitution


The onset of pseudomembranous colitis symptoms may occur during or after antibacterial treatment and is associated with the presence of Clostridium difficile toxin in the stool. Pseudomembranous colitis may also be associated with toxic megacolon, which can be life-threatening.

An unpleasant or metallic taste has occasionally been reported after high doses of IV clindamycin. [Ref ]

Common (1% to 10%): Pseudomembranous colitis, diarrhea, abdominal pain Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dysgeusia, nausea, vomiting Frequency not reported: Esophageal ulcers, esophagitis (oral preparations) [Ref ]


Common (1% to 10%): Maculopapular rash Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urticaria Rare (less than 0.1%): Erythema multiforme, pruritus Frequency not reported: Toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, exfoliative dermatitis, bullous dermatitis, generalized mild to moderate morbilliform-like rash, acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), Sweet's Syndrome Postmarketing reports: Serious cutaneous adverse reaction [Ref ]

Rash was particularly common in AIDS patients.

A 47-year-old female patient with multiple comorbidities was diagnosed with Sweet's Syndrome. The patient's symptoms developed 2 days after initiating oral clindamycin therapy for a tooth infection. The patient's symptoms persisted despite tooth extraction and continuance of antibiotic treatment with intravenous, then oral, clindamycin. Following discontinuation of clindamycin, the patient's symptoms resolved over several days. Drug-induced Sweet's syndrome was determined based on the temporal relationship of the patient's symptoms, the beginning and end of clindamycin therapy, and the exclusion of other etiologies.

Three days after starting oral clindamycin for the persistence of symptoms following a root canal, a 34-year-old male patient reported "pimples" on his scalp which changed to pustules 24 hours later. The lesions progressed and the patient's antibiotic therapy was discontinued. Two days later, the rash improved considerably. The patient met the diagnostic criteria for drug-induced Sweet's syndrome and clindamycin was the most likely cause due to the timeline of antibiotic therapy and the patient's improvement following its discontinuation. [Ref ]


Frequency not reported: Anaphylactoid reactions, drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic systems (DRESS) [Ref ]


Cardiorespiratory arrest and hypotension have been reported after too rapid IV administration. Thrombophlebitis has been reported after intravenous infusion. [Ref ]

Common (1% to 10%): Thrombophlebitis (after IV infusion) Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cardiorespiratory arrest, hypotension [Ref ]


Frequency not reported: Vaginitis [Ref ]


Neutropenia (ANC 945 cells/mm3) occurred in a 68-year-old male 6 days after receiving a single 600 mg oral dose of clindamycin. The neutrophil count normalized after 2 weeks. [Ref ]

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Eosinophilia Frequency not reported: Neutropenia, leucopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia [Ref ]


Common (1% to 10%): Liver function test abnormalities Frequency not reported: Jaundice [Ref ]


Pain, induration, and sterile abscess have been reported after intramuscular administration. [Ref ]

Frequency not reported: Injection site irritation, pain, abscess formation [Ref ]


Frequency not reported: Polyarthritis [Ref ]


Frequency not reported: Renal dysfunction, as shown by azotemia, oliguria, and/or proteinuria [Ref ]


1. de Groot MC, van Puijenbroek EP "Clindamycin and taste disorders." Br J Clin Pharmacol 64 (2007): 542-5

2. Meadowcroft AM, Diaz PR, Latham GS "Clostridium difficile toxin-induced colitis after use of clindmycin phosphate vaginal cream." Ann Pharmacother 32 (1998): 309-11

3. Davies J, Beck E "Recurrent colitis following antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis." Postgrad Med J 57 (1981): 599-601

4. Milstone EB, McDonald AJ, Scholhamer CF Jr "Pseudomembranous colitis after topical application of clindamycin." Arch Dermatol 117 (1981): 154-5

5. Bartlett JG "Narrative review: the new epidemic of Clostridium difficile-associated enteric disease." Ann Intern Med 145 (2006): 758-64

6. Leigh DA, Simmons K, Williams S "Gastrointestinal side effects following clindamycin and lincomycin treatment: a follow up study." J Antimicrob Chemother 6 (1980): 639-45

7. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

8. George WL, Sutter VL, Finegold SM "Antimicrobial agent-induced diarrhea--a bacterial disease." J Infect Dis 136 (1977): 822-8

9. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

10. Geddes AM, Bridgwater FA, Williams DN, Oon J, Grimshaw GJ "Clinical and bacteriological studies with clindamycin." Br Med J 2 (1970): 703-4

11. Wilson DH "Clindamycin in the treatment of soft tissue infections: a review of 15,019 patients." Br J Surg 67 (1980): 93-6

12. Mason SJ, O'Meara TF "Drug-induced esophagitis." J Clin Gastroenterol 3 (1981): 115-20

13. Parry MF, Rha CK "Pseudomembranous colitis caused by topical clindamycin phosphate." Arch Dermatol 122 (1986): 583-4

14. Van Ness MM, Cattau EL Jr "Fulminant colitis complicating antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis: case report and review of the clinical manifestations and treatment." Am J Gastroenterol 82 (1987): 374-7

15. Cone JB, Wetzel W "Toxic megacolon secondary to pseudomembranous colitis." Dis Colon Rectum 25 (1982): 478-82

16. "Product Information. Cleocin (clindamycin)." Pharmacia and Upjohn, Kalamazoo, MI.

17. Clark BM, Homeyer DC, Glass KR, D'Avignon LC "Clindamycin-Induced Sweet's Syndrome." Pharmacotherapy 27 (2007): 1343-6

18. Vidal C, Iglesias A, Saez A, Rodriguez M "Hypersensitivity to clindamycin." DICP 25 (1991): 317

19. Kapoor R, Flynn C, Heald PW, Kapoor JR "Acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis induced by clindamycin." Arch Dermatol 142 (2006): 1080-1

20. Miller Quidley A, Bookstaver PB, Gainey AB, Gainey MD "Fatal clindamycin-induced drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) syndrome." Pharmacotherapy (2012):

21. Tian D, Mohan RJ, Stallings G "Drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms syndrome associated with clindamycin." Am J Med 123 (2010): e7-8

22. Paquet P, Schaaflafontaine N, Pierard GE "Toxic epidermal necrolysis following clindamycin treatment." Br J Dermatol 132 (1995): 665-6

23. Lammintausta K, Tokola R, Kalimo K "Cutaneous adverse reactions to clindamycin: results of skin tests and oral exposure." Br J Dermatol 146 (2002): 643-8

24. Bubalo JS, Blasdel CS, Bearden DT "Neutropenia after single-dose clindamycin for dental prophylaxis." Pharmacotherapy 23 (2003): 101-3

Not all side effects for clindamycin may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here .

More about clindamycin

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Everything you need to know about antibiotics:

Drug Status

Availability Rx Prescription only

Pregnancy Category B No proven risk in humans

CSA Schedule N Not a controlled drug

Approval History Calendar Drug history at FDA

Clindamycin Rating

312 User Reviews 6.3 /10

312 User Reviews

Clindamycin 300 mg

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