Clindamycin is a prescription antibiotic that is effective against many different types of severe bacterial infections. The drug is most often used to combat staphylococcus and streptococcus complications that are not responsive to more common antibiotic medications. It comes in capsule and liquid solution forms, and it is usually prescribed to be taken three to four times a day for about two weeks. There are risks of side effects and potentially serious reactions when taking clindamycin, but patients can limit their chances of experiencing health problems by speaking with their doctors and following their prescriptions exactly.
Doctors usually try several other less potent antibiotics before prescribing this drug because of its potential to cause major side effects. The drug is sometimes prescribed as a first-course treatment, however, in patients who are allergic to penicillin. It is typically reserved for severe lung infections, but can also be used to combat abscesses in bones, skin, intestines, or other organs.
Clindamycin is a bacterial protein synthesis inhibitor, which means that it works by stopping bacterial cells from growing and reproducing. The drug infiltrates bacterial RNA and prevents the creation of new proteins. As a result, the infection stops spreading and all of the existing pathogens eventually die.
In most cases, patients are instructed to take carefully measured clindamycin doses every six hours for at least 10 days. The dosage amount can vary based on the type and severity of infection, but most adults take 300 milligram doses. Pediatric patients are generally prescribed smaller amounts, which is determined by age and weight. Both capsules and liquid solutions should be taken with a full glass of water to avoid irritating the throat and the lining of the stomach.
The most common side effects when taking clindamycin are mild bouts of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. A person may also develop temporary flu-like symptoms, such as joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue. The drug can lead to an increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the large intestine, which occasionally results in severe diarrhea with watery or bloody stools for several days.
After using clindamycin, a very small number of patients develop a lasting, potentially life-threatening bowel infection called colitis that may require long-term medication use or surgery to correct. Most people who use the drug exactly how it is prescribed and attend regular checkups with their doctors are able to make full recoveries in less than one month of treatment.