Cleocin Phosphate Side Effects

Generic Name: clindamycin

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of clindamycin. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Cleocin Phosphate.

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

For the Consumer

Applies to clindamycin: oral capsule, oral powder for solution

Other dosage forms:

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by clindamycin (the active ingredient contained in Cleocin Phosphate). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

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
  • bloating
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • cloudy urine
  • confusion
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • diarrhea
  • diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • 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
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • 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
  • thirst
  • tightness in the chest
  • unconscious
  • 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. It appears as a pale plaque on direct visualization of the mucosa by endoscopy and is sensitive to oral vancomycin or metronidazole. Pseudomembranous colitis may be associated with toxic megacolon, which can be life-threatening.

Frequency not reported: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, esophagitis, diarrhea, Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis, dry mouth, hairy tongue, upset stomach, gastrointestinal bleeding, mouth irritation


Rare (less than 0.1%): Erythema multiforme, anaphylactoid reactions, leukocytoclastic angiitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Frequency not reported: Vesiculobullous rashes, urticaria, edema, generalized mild to moderate morbilliform-like (maculopapular) skin rashes, drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS syndrome)

Some cases of erythema multiforme resembled Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Rare cases of leukocytoclastic angiitis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome associated with clindamycin hypersensitivity have been reported.


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 (the active ingredient contained in Cleocin Phosphate) 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.

Rare (less than 0.1%): Exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, drug-induced Sweet's syndrome (at least 2 cases)
Frequency not reported: Pruritus, maculopapular rash (generalized pruritic), vesiculobullous rash, urticaria, acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis


Rare (less than 0.1%): High degree heart block, hypotension, cardiopulmonary arrest

Rare cases of high degree heart block, hypotension, and cardiopulmonary arrest have been reported after clindamycin was administered intravenously over several minutes. In these cases, the affected patients subsequently tolerated slow infusions of clindamycin.


Frequency not reported: Transient neutropenia (leukopenia), transient eosinophilia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, granulocytopenia

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.


Frequency not reported: Jaundice, abnormalities in liver function tests, cholestatic liver disease with ductopenia


Rare (less than 0.1%): Renal dysfunction (as shown by azotemia, oliguria, proteinuria)

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Taste perversion/disorders (including bitter taste, taste loss, bad taste, taste alteration), parosmia


Frequency not reported: Vaginitis


Rare (less than 0.1%): Polyarthritis


Pain, induration, and sterile abscess have been reported after intramuscular administration and thrombophlebitis after intravenous infusion.

Frequency not reported: Pain, induration, sterile abscess, thrombophlebitis

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