Clindamycin HCL Side Effects


Clindamycin hydrochloride is an antibiotic which doctors prescribe for numerous bacterial infections. It is available in a generic form as well as under several brand names. Because of potential severe side effects, physicians prefer to only prescribe it for serious infections which do not respond well to other antibiotics, or for patients who are allergic to penicillin.

Side Effects

Clindamycin HCl can cause indigestion, heartburn, bloating, diarrhea and nausea. These symptoms should disappear in a few days, and the patient should not take any anti-diarrhea medications. Other side effects may include fever, chills and body aches. Some people may be allergic to Clindamycin HCl and have rash, swelling, dizziness, and trouble breathing. Patients should consult their physician about any of these side effects, and seek immediate medical attention if there are symptoms of an allergic reaction.


Clindamycin HCl can cause a severe type of colitis, an intestinal disease resulting from a form of resistant bacteria. The disease may even occur months after treatment has ended. Patients should contact their doctor immediately if they begin suffering from abdominal cramps, continued diarrhea, or bloody stools. They should not use anti-diarrhea or narcotic pain medicine, because these actually can make the symptoms worse.

Causes of Colitis

Colitis can result from antibiotic treatment because these agents kill friendly bacteria as well, permitting overgrowth of the drug-resistant clostridia, which produces a toxin that causes colitis. The severe type of colitis seen with Clindamycin HCl treatment, called pseudomembranous colitis, can almost always be eliminated with other antibiotics. However, in rare cases, the condition requires removal of the colon, or may even be fatal.


Before using Clindamycin HCl, patients should tell the doctor about any medical history involving liver or kidney disease, stomach or intestinal disorders, asthma, eczema, allergic skin reactions, and any drug allergies. They should also tell about any other drugs they are taking, including nonprescription items such as vitamin and herbal supplements.


Pregnant women should not take Clindamycin HCl unless it is absolutely necessary, although the drug is not known to cause harm to the fetus. The drug also is excreted into breast milk, so patients should tell their doctor if they are breast-feeding or plan to during the course of treatment.


Doctors usually only prescribe Clindamycin HCl to patients with allergies to the aminopenicillin group of drugs, or for specific serious infections which are resistant to other antibiotics. These include anaerobic bacterial infections such as certain types of pneumonia and lung abscesses, particular skin and soft tissue infections, septicemia, peritonitis, endometritis, and malaria.

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