Clindamycin is a prescription antibiotic medication used to treat various types of bacterial infections. It belongs to the lincosamide class of antibiotics and works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis.
In this article, we will explore the uses, side effects, and precautions of clindamycin, as well as provide helpful information for those who may be prescribed this medication. See our selection of Clindamycin impurities in our catalog.
What is clindamycin?
Clindamycin is used to treat infections such as pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infections, bone and joint infections, sepsis, intra-abdominal infections, and bacterial vaginosis. It can also prevent endocarditis in people with certain heart conditions who are undergoing certain dental or surgical procedures.
Clindamycin is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, injections, and topical creams or gels. It is important to use clindamycin as directed by a healthcare professional and to complete the full course of treatment even if symptoms improve.
How does clindamycin work?
Clindamycin works by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. It does this by binding to the 50S subunit of bacterial ribosomes, the cellular structures synthesizing proteins. This binding prevents the ribosomes from adding amino acids to growing proteins, thereby inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis and growth.
Clindamycin is effective against a wide range of bacteria, including aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, as well as Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, it does not work against all types of bacteria and is ineffective against viruses or fungi.
Because clindamycin works by targeting bacterial protein synthesis, it is considered a bacteriostatic antibiotic, meaning that it inhibits bacterial growth and replication, rather than directly killing bacteria. In certain cases, such as when treating severe infections or in immunocompromised patients, clindamycin may be used in combination with other antibiotics to achieve a bactericidal effect, which is the direct killing of bacteria.
Chemical properties of clindamycin
Clindamycin is a semisynthetic antibiotic derived from lincomycin, a natural antibiotic produced by actinomycete Streptomyces lincolnensis. Its chemical name is (2S,4R)-N-[(1S,2S)-1-Ethyl-2-hydroxypropyl]-4-propyl-2-pyrrolidinone-2-carboxamide, and its molecular formula is C18H33ClN2O5S.
Clindamycin is a white to off-white crystalline powder that is soluble in water, methanol, and ethanol. It has a pKa of 7.45 and is stable at room temperature when stored in a dry, cool place.
What to avoid while taking clindamycin
While taking clindamycin, there are some things you should avoid to ensure the medication is effective and to prevent potential side effects. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Avoid alcohol: Drinking alcohol while taking clindamycin may increase the risk of certain side effects, such as stomach upset or dizziness. It is generally recommended to avoid alcohol while taking any antibiotic.
- Avoid antacids and dairy products: Antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium, as well as dairy products such as milk or yogurt, can decrease the absorption of clindamycin and make it less effective. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid taking antacids or consuming dairy products within two hours of taking clindamycin.
- Avoid sun exposure: Clindamycin can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and increase the risk of sunburn. It is recommended to wear protective clothing and use sunscreen when spending time outside.
- Avoid other medications: Clindamycin can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and some medications used to treat heart rhythm problems. Be sure to inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking before starting clindamycin.
Side-effects of Clindamycin
As with any medication, clindamycin can cause side effects in some people. Here are some of the potential side effects associated with clindamycin:
- Gastrointestinal problems: The most common side effect of clindamycin is gastrointestinal disturbances, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. These symptoms may range from mild to severe, and in some cases, may lead to colitis, an inflammation of the colon.
- Skin reactions: Clindamycin can cause skin reactions in some people, including rashes, itching, hives, and swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.
- Allergic reactions: In rare cases, clindamycin can cause a severe allergic reaction, with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
- Liver damage: Clindamycin can cause liver damage, although this is a rare side effect.
- Blood disorders: In rare cases, clindamycin can cause blood disorders, such as a decrease in the number of white blood cells, which can increase the risk of infection, or a decrease in the number of platelets, which can increase the risk of bleeding.
Is clindamycin the same as amoxicillin?
No, clindamycin and amoxicillin are not the same medication, and they belong to different classes of antibiotics.
Clindamycin is a lincosamide antibiotic that is effective against a wide range of bacteria, including anaerobic bacteria and Gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Amoxicillin, on the other hand, is a penicillin-type antibiotic that is effective against a broader range of bacteria, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella.
While both clindamycin and amoxicillin can be used to treat bacterial infections, they are not interchangeable and are often used to treat different types of infections or different strains of bacteria. The choice of which antibiotic to use will depend on the type of infection, the patient’s medical history, and the susceptibility of the bacteria to the medication. It is important to follow the instructions provided by a healthcare professional when taking antibiotics and to complete the full course of treatment as directed.