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

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that is available in a variety of forms. It is used to treat conditions that are caused by infection with certain types of bacteria. The topical solution is used to treat acne. It may take up to 8 weeks for improvement to be seen.

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 taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking 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 take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each mL of topical solution contains clindamycin phosphate equivalent to clindamycin 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: isopropyl alcohol 50% v/v, propylene glycol, and purified water. May contain hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide to adjust pH.

How should I use this medication?

Apply a thin film of the solution twice a day to the area to be treated. Before applying the solution, wash and dry the skin on the affected area. Do not wash the area for at least 2 hours after applying the medication.

Clindamycin topical solution contains an alcohol base that may cause burning and irritation of the eye and other sensitive surfaces. Avoid contact with the eyes. In the event of accidental contact with a sensitive surface, bathe it with large amounts of cool tap water. To reduce the likelihood of skin irritation, wait for at least 30 minutes after shaving to apply the solution.

The solution has an unpleasant taste. Use caution when applying it around the mouth.

Clindamycin topical solution is flammable as a result of the alcohol content. Avoid smoking when applying the solution and do not use the solution near open flames.

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.

Use this medication for the full length of time that your doctor has prescribed. Stopping this medication too early may allow the bacteria causing the acne to return and be harder to treat.

It is important that this medication be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

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 use clindamycin topical solution if you:

  • are allergic to clindamycin, lincomycin, or any ingredients of the medication
  • have a history of antibiotic-associated colitis (inflamed bowel)
  • have a history of inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis)

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.

  • dry, scaly, or peeling skin
  • irritable or oily skin
  • itching
  • new or worse acne
  • rash/redness
  • stinging or burning sensation of skin

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

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

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea (watery and severe; may also be bloody)
  • gas/bloating
  • indigestion
  • nausea
  • skin rash, itching, redness, swelling, or other sign of irritation not present before using this medication
  • stomach upset
  • vomiting

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.

Allergies: If you have skin allergies, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Diarrhea: People using this medication may develop diarrhea caused by an infection with the bacteria C. difficile. If you have loose, watery and bloody bowel movements, with or without fever or stomach cramps after using clindamycin topical solution, get medical attention as soon as possible. Diarrhea caused by C. difficile infection can lead to serious health problems if it is not properly treated.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

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

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 13 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between clindamycin topical solution and any of the following:

  • BCG
  • erythromycin
  • neuromuscular blocking agents (e.g., acetylcholine, pancuronium)
  • sodium picosulfate
  • other topical (skin-applied) medications

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.