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Clindamycin is a type of antibiotic found in many prescription medications. This active ingredient works by interfering with bacteria's to grow and multiply. This drug is available in several forms and is used to treat different infections. Although many people tolerate this medication well, it is not suitable for everyone. Potential side effects include dry skin, diarrhea, and skin irritation.

What Is Clindamycin?

Clindamycin is an antibiotic. It is an active ingredient in many different prescription medications. The medication comes in many different forms, such as capsules, lotions or gels, vaginal suppositories, or as an injection. It is used to treat a variety of different infections.
(Click What is Clindamycin Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

How Does It Work?

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 ribosomes, the drug interferes with the ability of bacteria to make proteins, which is necessary for 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.

When and How to Take This Medication

Some general considerations for those taking clindamycin include the following:
  • This medication comes in many different forms. The particular directions for each product can vary substantially, so make sure to refer to the information for your specific clindamycin product.
  • When taking clindamycin by mouth, it generally does not matter if you take it with or without food.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not miss a dose or stop taking clindamycin earlier than your healthcare provider recommends, as bacterial resistance may develop.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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