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Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat several bacterial infections. Learn more about how Clindamycin is used, its dosage, and side effects. Then test your knowledge with a quiz.

What is Clindamycin: Definition and Uses

While out on a hiking trip, Tracy cuts her leg on a deteriorating piece of wood.

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Within a few hours, her leg swells, causing her to finish her hike early. The area around Tracy’s cut turns red and is painful to touch. A few days later, she notices that her cut isn’t healing, but rather is leaking pus. Concerned, Tracy visits her doctor and is diagnosed with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

This is a staph infection that is resistant to many antibiotics, making it hard to treat and more dangerous than other infections. Since MRSA is resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics, Tracy’s doctor prescribes her clindamycin.So what exactly is clindamycin? It is an antibiotic that is used as a treatment for serious bacterial infections, such as MRSA, infections of the blood, and infections of the uterus. Using clindamycin is associated with an increased risk of colitis, a life-threatening condition where the large intestines become inflamed. Therefore, clindamycin is only used to treat infections that cannot be treated by other less toxic medications, such as penicillin or erythromycin.

It is also commonly used in treating patients who are allergic to penicillin.Clindamycin is classified as a lincomycin antibiotic, which works by inhibiting or reducing the bacteria’s growth. It is important to note that Clindamycin does not kill viruses; it treats bacterial infections only. Clindamycin is also know by its brand name, Cleocin.


Adults who have serious bacterial infections are generally given a prescription to take between 150 and 450 milligrams of clindamycin every six hours, depending on how severe the infection is. To treat her MRSA, Tracy is prescribed 300 milligrams every six hours. Children are prescribed between 8 and 20 milligrams of Clindamycin per day, depending on how severe the infection is.

This dosage is evenly broken up into three or four individual doses.

Side Effects

After taking clindamycin, Tracy experiences some of the common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and pain in her stomach. Other common side effects include:

  • Mild skin rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Discharge or itching in the vagina.

Less common side effects include:

  • Decreased body heat
  • Pain in joints or when swallowing
  • White spots in the mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Skin that is cracking or red, swollen, and scaly.

Serious side effects that should be reported to a doctor immediately include:

  • Rashes
  • Blisters
  • Eyes and skin that are yellow
  • Hives
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Any signs of inflammation (i.e.

    swollen glands, bleeding more easily, chest pain)

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

Luckily for Tracy, she never experiences any of the less common or serious side effects of clindamycin.

Lesson Summary

Tracy is now MRSA-free thanks to finishing her prescription of clindamycin. Clindamycin is a lincomycin antibiotic that is used to treat serious bacterial infections when other, less toxic antibiotics will not work. The dosage of clindamycin prescribed largely depends on how severe the infection is. It is taken three or four times per day by children and every six hours by adults.

Common side effects of clindamycin include vomiting, nausea, and mild skin rash.

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