What Is Clindamycin Used For?
Various types of bacterial infections can be treated with clindamycin, such as serious respiratory tract infections, serious skin infections, and female pelvic infections. This prescription antibiotic is only approved for specific types of bacteria; not all bacteria will respond to this medicine. Healthcare providers may occasionally recommend off-label clindamycin uses as well, such as for non-serious infections, parasitic infections, and to prevent endocarditis.
Clindamycin is a prescription antibiotic. It is available in several different forms and is approved for a variety of different uses. Oral or injectable forms of clindamycin are approved to treat the following infections:
- Serious respiratory tract infections
- Serious skin infections
- Serious soft tissue infections
- Abdominal (stomach) infections or abscesses
- Female pelvic infections
- Bone, joint, or bloodstream infections (injectable form only).
Clindamycin lotions, gels, solution, or foams that are applied to the skin are approved for the treatment of acne. Some acne medications combine clindamycin with benzoyl peroxide, another acne treatment. The vaginal forms (creams and suppositories) are approved to treat bacterial vaginosis.
This medication is approved for treating infections only when they are caused by certain types of bacteria -- not all bacteria will respond to clindamycin. Also, bacteria have different resistance patterns in various regions in the country. This means that some bacteria may be susceptible to clindamycin in certain parts of the country but not in others. This drug is completely ineffective for treating viral illnesses, such as the common cold or the flu.
Clindamycin belongs to a group of antibiotics known as lincosamides and works by inhibiting bacterial ribosomes (ribosomes are parts of cells that make proteins). By inhibiting the ribosomes, the medication interferes with the ability of bacteria to make proteins, which is necessary for the bacteria to grow and multiply. Clindamycin specifically inhibits the 50S subunit of the bacterial ribosome. Because human cells do not have a 50S subunit, they are spared from the effects of the antibiotic.