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An Overview of Clindamycin

October 5, 2012

Other Names: Cleocin HCl, Cleocin Hydrochloride, Cleocin Pediatric, Cleocin Phosphate, clindamycin HCl, clindamycin palmitate hydrochloride

What is clindamycin?

Clindamycin is an antibacterial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of serious infections caused by certain types of bacteria, including serious respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections, infections of the female pelvis and genital tract, and others.

Certain bacterial respiratory infections (such as pneumonia) are opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems -- such as those infected with HIV -- than in people with healthy immune systems.

Clindamycin can also be used "off-label" to treat other opportunistic infections of HIV infection. "Off-label" use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used "off-label."

What HIV-related opportunistic infections is clindamycin used for?

The Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), includes recommendations on the HIV-related uses of clindamycin to:

  • Prevent:

    • Toxoplasma gondii encephalitis (also called toxoplasmosis) from recurring (called secondary prophylaxis or maintenance therapy). (This is an "off-label" use.)
  • Treat:

    • Pneumonia caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.
    • Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). (This is an "off-label" use.)
    • Toxoplasma gondii encephalitis. (This is an "off-label" use.)
    • Malaria. (This is an "off-label" use.)

What should I tell my health care provider before taking clindamycin?

Before taking clindamycin, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to clindamycin or any other medicines.
  • About any medical conditions you have or have had, for example, diabetes or liver problems.
  • About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take pills.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether clindamycin can harm an unborn baby is unknown.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between clindamycin and the other medicines you take.

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from clindamycin. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.

How should I take clindamycin?

Take clindamycin according to your health care provider's instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much clindamycin to take and when to take it. Before you start clindamycin and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.

How should clindamycin be stored?

  • Store clindamycin capsules, granules for oral solution, and solution for intravenous use at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Do not refrigerate the reconstituted oral solution; when chilled, the solution may thicken and be difficult to pour. The solution is stable for 2 weeks at room temperature.
  • Safely throw away clindamycin that is no longer needed or expired (out of date).
  • Keep clindamycin and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where can I find more information about clindamycin?

More information about clindamycin is available:

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This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.
See Also
How to Prevent PCP
More on Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP) Treatment

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