Clindamycin is an antibiotic medication classified as a lincosamide; it inhibits bacteria protein synthesis. Clindamycin is used to prevent or treat bacterial infection. Clindamycin is also applied topically to the skin as an ointment to treat or prevent acne. Like any medication, clindamycin can have side effects, and some can be severe. Most people will not experience all the possible common side effects.
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Gastrointestinal Side Effects
Like many antibiotics, clindamycin can cause gastrointestinal upset. Common side effects of clindamycin include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or constipation. Some people complain of a metallic taste in their mouth when on the drug. Colitis, an inflammation of the colon, can occur. Up to 10 percent of people taking clindamycin develop Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) up to several months after taking the drug, the Merck Manual reports. Severe or bloody diarrhea should be reported immediately to your medical practitioner.
Other Side Effects
Clindamycin may cause fever, headache, back pain or sore throat. Kidney or urinary tract problems such as a decrease in urine production, urinary tract infection or protein in the urine may develop. In rare cases, the drug may also cause blood abnormalities such as a decrease in white blood cells or platelets. A low platelet count may manifest as bruising or bleeding. Skin may turn yellow, called jaundice, if the liver is damaged by the drug.
When applied to the skin to prevent or treat acne, clindamycin causes dryness of the skin in 23 percent of people taking the drug; redness occurs in 18 percent, Drugs.com states. Itching, burning and peeling are also common side effects, occurring 11 percent of the time. When clindamycin is used vaginally, vaginal fungal infections occur 14 percent of the time. Yeast infections occur in 13 percent of women applying the drug vaginally.
Any drug can cause allergic reaction. Signs of allergy to clindamycin include rash, hives, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, itching or wheezing, according to eMedTV. Low blood pressure and collapse occur in anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Antihistamines may be used to treat mild symptoms; more severe reactions may require corticosteroid treatment to reduce swelling.