How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

This combination product contains two medications: clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide. Clindamycin belongs to the family of medications known as antibiotics. Benzoyl peroxide is a medication that has antibacterial effects and is a peeling agent. This combination product is used to treat certain types of acne. It works by killing bacteria that cause acne and by peeling off skin cells. It may take several weeks to months for improvement of your acne to occur.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each g of gel contains 10 mg of clindamycin and 50 mg of benzoyl peroxide. Nonmedicinal ingredients: carbomer, dioctyl sodium, sulfosuccinate, purified water, and sodium hydroxide.

How should I use this medication?

Clindamycin - benzoyl peroxide should be applied to the affected skin areas twice daily, in the morning and before bedtime, after the skin has been washed, rinsed with warm water, and gently patted dry. Avoid contact with eyes, nostrils, mouth, and sensitive skin. If contact does occur, rinse with plenty of cool tap water. Wash your hands before and after using this medication.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Store this medication at room temperature, keep tube tightly closed and keep out of the reach of children. Discard any unused gel after 90 days.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to clindamycin, lincomycin, benzoyl peroxide, or to any of the ingredients of this medication
  • have a history of colitis associated with antibiotic use
  • have a history of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammation of the small intestine

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • skin peeling, redness, dryness, burning, or itching at the site of application
  • sensitivity to sunlight

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal pain or cramps, severe pain or bloating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • severe watery diarrhea that may be bloody

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., rash, hives, swelling of the lips or face, difficulty breathing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Colitis: When applied to the skin, clindamycin is absorbed into the bloodstream and can cause colitis (inflammation of the colon). Contact your doctor immediately if you experience abdominal pain, cramps or bloating, severe watery diarrhea that may be bloody, or nausea and vomiting.

Contact: Avoid contact with eyes, mucous membranes (nostrils and mouth), and sensitive skin. If contact does occur, wash with plenty of cool tap water. Avoid contact with hair, fabrics, carpeting or other materials, as benzoyl peroxide may cause bleaching.

Other acne medications: Other acne medications and skin preparations should not be used at the same time as clindamycin - benzoyl peroxide as it may cause increased skin irritation. If severe irritation occurs, stop using this medication and contact your doctor.

Skin irritation: Some people may experience temporary skin irritation, especially in early weeks of treatment. Should excessive reactions occur and the skin becomes extremely red, swollen, and crusted, the medication should be stopped and you should contact your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while you are on this medication or if you are planning to become pregnant, contact your doctor.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if clindamycin - benzoyl peroxide gel passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children under 12 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between clindamycin - benzoyl peroxide and any of the following:

  • BCG vaccine
  • erythromycin
  • neuromuscular blocking agents (e.g., tubocurarine, pancuronium)
  • other acne medications
  • sulphonamides (topical)
  • tazarotene
  • tretinoin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.