Clindamycin Side Effects

Some side effects of clindamycin may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

For the Consumer

Applies to clindamycin: capsule, powder for solution, solution

Along with its needed effects, clindamycin may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking clindamycin:

More common

(the above side effects may also occur up to several weeks after you Stop taking clindamycin)

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps and pain (severe)
  • abdominal tenderness
  • diarrhea (watery and severe), which may also be bloody
  • fever
Less common
  • Sore throat and fever
  • skin rash, redness, and itching
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Some side effects of clindamycin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Diarrhea (mild)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach pain
Less common
  • Itching of rectal, or genital (sex organ) areas

For Healthcare Professionals

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

Gastrointestinal

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

Hypersensitivity

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.

Dermatologic

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.

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

Cardiovascular

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.

Hematologic

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.

Hepatic

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

Renal

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

Genitourinary

Frequency not reported: Vaginitis

Musculoskeletal

Rare (less than 0.1%): Polyarthritis

Local

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

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

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Watch this video series to learn about managing severe allergies (anaphylaxis).

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