Antibiotics are essentially antibacterial medications. Drugs belonging to this class of medicines help fight several types of microbial infections, especially those caused by bacteria. The key function of antibiotics is to stop the spread of bacterial attacks and resultant infections. Among the various types of antibiotics, clindamycin is a widely used drug. Its use is recommended for the treatment of respiratory conditions like pneumonia, infections in the ears, joints and bones. This drug may however trigger a few adverse side effects; you are advised to understand its side effects before starting to use it.

The use of clindamycin is prescribed for infections caused by anaerobic bacteria – i.e., microbes that do not need oxygen for their sustenance and growth. Such bacterial attacks show up as dental or oral problems, infections on skin or in your respiratory tract. Owing to its multiple uses, it has gained an overall acceptance and popularity. As per a few recent surveys, clindamycin fares in the top 140 most commonly administered drugs in the US. Based on some population-centric studies, it is estimated that above 4.5 million prescriptions for clindamycin are written each year. As a combinatorial drug – when it is blended with benzoyl peroxide, it can be used as a skin cream. This combination is commonly used in the treatment of skin conditions like acme.

Clindamycin essentially inhibits the synthesis of essential proteins of microbes and stops the spread of bacterial infections. This drug is also available in its generic form; needless to state, the generic form is less expensive than its branded equivalents. It is taken orally. However, for children, oral route is seldom prescribed due to its foul smell as well as unpleasant taste. You need to note that this drug is also available in multiple variants – such as creams, pills or as shots. In the form of a gel or lotion, it serves as a topical drug.

Side effects of clindamycin

This drug is likely to trigger a few adverse side effects. Most commonly experienced side effects include pain in lower abdomen, rashes on skin, cramping of muscles, nausea, and diarrhea or vomiting. In case of creams, lotions or other topical applications, the commonly experienced side effects are drying of skin, persistent itchiness, peeling or scaling of skin, etc. Other side effects include heartburns, pain in joints, formation of white colored spots in oral parts, a metallic flavor in the mouth, etc.

A few of these side effects have the potential to turn into serious medical conditions. These include discoloration of eyes, decrease in output of urine, formation of blisters, inflammation or internal swelling, etc. If you encounter any of these relatively serious or acute discomforts, it is a good practice to seek medical attention on an emergency basis.

Rare side effects

In very remote instances, the drug is known to trigger renal disorders, increased secretion of enzymes in the liver, swelling of facial organs or oral parts, etc. In equally rare circumstances, the drug may trigger the growth of a few microbial strands – especially, bacterial forms like C. difficile. Such infections may lead to intestinal disorders (especially, in the large intestine) such as indigestion, diarrhea or vomiting. In such cases, it is counterproductive to administer anti-diarrheal meds. It is highly recommended to contact your treating physician upon noticing these abdominal discomforts. If you are aged above 60 years, you are likely to witness the aforesaid abdominal problems – i.e., diarrhea or indigestion – more acutely. Hence, for elderly patients or older people, the treating doctormay either change the strength of doses or may recommend safer alternatives.

Pregnant women and those who are nursing an infant

Administration of clindamycin on women who are pregnant is generally considered safe, in general. However, if you are pregnant, you are advised to tell your treating doctor about your pregnancy before stating to use this drug. It is also strongly recommended to tell your physician if you are planning to become pregnant. Among women who are breastfeeding, this drug may be administered only when it becomes a necessity. Though many studies indicate that it is relatively safe on infants, a few have identified likely incidence of digestive problems among feeding infants.

Allergic reactions associated with the use of clindamycin

Usage of this drug over long periods of time can lead to yeast or fungal infections. In general, a longer use of this drug may cause oral thrushes; in women, it can result in discharge of a white fluid from vagina. In case your medical condition warrants the use of this drug for an extended period of time, you are advised to check your blood cells, renal health and hepatic wellbeing (performing liver function tests) on a periodic basis. It is also recommended to talk to your physician to understand the frequency in which these tests are to be done. Acute allergies are very remote. Such allergic symptoms include inflammation of lymph nodes, persistent spell of itchiness, inflammation of throat or lips, acute spell of drowsiness, respiratory problems, rashes or hives.

If you notice any of the allergies or acute conditions, you are advised to take medical help without any further delay. You can either reach out to 911 or call a local poison control center. If you are a resident of Canada, you can contact Health Canada or a poison control unit located in your province. It is important to note that the side effects or allergies listed above do not constitute a full list. So, if you observe unknown side effects or new allergies, you need to call the emergency hotline numbers of the food and drug administration (FDA) as quickly as possible.

Other precautions to be observed before taking clindamycin
It is a good practice to share details about all prior ailments as well as allergies before starting your medication plan. It is equally important to share details about your medical history as well as your family’s clinical history. Ensure to tell your physician if you have had prior spells of intestinal or abdominal disorders, renal dysfunction, hepatic disorders, respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, etc. Also, if you are intending to get inoculated or planning to take a shot of a vaccine, you are not advised have such shots while taking clindamycin. The chief reason being – this drug may limit the functions of antibacterial shots – especially, vaccine shots taken for the treatment of typhoid.

Possible side effects triggered through interactions with other drugs

Intake of clindamycin along with other drugs may lead to adverse side effects, and a few allergic reactions. It is very difficult to list all the likely interactions between clindamycin when co-administered with other drugs. In order to avoid risks, you are advised to create a list of all meds you are currently consuming. As you compile this list, ensure to make it as comprehensive as possible; include prescription meds, over the counter (OTC) medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, dietary aids, etc. Once you have furnished this list, never add more drugs, remove meds or reduce the strength of drugs taken without informing your treating physician; these practices may trigger a few adverse side effects.

Clindamycin is known to work adversely with drugs administered to control the neuromuscular system. It is also likely to bring-out counterproductive effects when taken with antimicrobials such as erythromycin; owing to this, these two meds are never taken together.

Overdosing and likely side effects of clindamycin

An overdosing of clindamycin may occur when people miss a dose, and take a double dose to make up for the forgotten dose. This is not a good practice. It can lead to excessive dosing, and can trigger a range of adverse side effects. The typical side effects of an overdose of clindamycin include breathing problems, swelling of lips, throat, tongue, etc., drop in pulse rate, feeling dizzy or passing out. Upon noticing any of these adverse side effects, you are advised to seek medical attention immediately.

Other precautions

It is important to store this drug under proper storage conditions. Never store clindamycin in your bathrooms or toilets, as these rooms may contain an added level of moisture in them. It is equally essential to keep this drug far away from a direct exposure to sunlight or other brighter sources of light. If your course is over, but your still have unused pills or cream, never dispose them in a drain or flush them down your toilets. Take needful guidance from the pharmacist about how to dispose-off expired drugs or unused meds. In case of a family member or friend reports of bacterial infections, never share clindamycin with them. Instead, advise them to consult a qualified medical practitioner for needful treatment and / or medication plan.

Planning for a surgical procedure or a dental intervention

Those who are planning to undergo a surgery need to tell their surgeon about intake of antibiotics – especially, drugs like clindamycin. In some cases, your surgeon may advise you to stop taking this drug a few weeks prior to your surgical procedure. In case you are planning to undergo a dental intervention, you need to inform your dentist about the intake of clindamycin. Here again, it is quite likely that your dentist may tell you to discontinue the drug for a few days before the dental procedure.

In general, the dosage levels – as prescribed by your doctor – need to be strictly followed. In case of an acute spread of infections caused by bacteria, a dose of 150 milligrams (mg) is recommended; this dose is given once per six to eight hours. However, if the bacterial attack is very acute and infections are spreading too fast, a dosage of 300 mg is suggested once every six to eight hours. Care must to be taken to sallow the tablet / pill with needful amounts of water; people who took inadequate level of water may suffer from allergies and discomforts in the food pipe. In case of younger adults or children, the dosage levels depend on body weight. In case of acute infections, the dosage for children is restricted to 10 mg per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

In sum, clindamycin is used for the treatment of infections caused by anaerobic bacteria, which may show up as infections in your oral parts, skin and in respiratory passages or airways. Clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide – when used as a combination, is applied to treat various skin conditions. Common side effects of clindamycin are rashes on skin, cramping of muscles, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and pains in lower abdomen. Clindamycin cream may cause side effects such as itchiness, drying of skin, peeling, etc. Serious reactions and side effects of clindamycin are decrease in urine discharge, blisters, discoloration of eyes and swelling. You are advised to seek medical attention immediately if you witness any of these aforesaid serious side effects.

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