In June of 2009 we answered the following question about the antibiotic clindamycin:
“Q. For an abscessed tooth, I was given a prescription antibiotic called clindamycin. Ever since I took it, I have had unremitting diarrhea. Now my dentist wants me to see a gastroenterologist. Is there anything else I can do before going to a specialist?”
We recommended that this person see a gastroenterologist immediately since clindamycin can trigger dangerous diarrhea. It allows bad bacteria called Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) to get the upper hand in the digestive tract. Left untreated, this infection can be extremely serious, even fatal.
In November of 2009 the FDA published its most stringent caution, a boxed warning:
• Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including Cleocin HCL and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C.difficle
• C.difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.

Since then, many visitors to this site have reported serious digestive tract complications following their use of clindamycin. Here are just a few. Please report your own experience below in the comment section so that we can alert the FDA to ongoing problems associated with clindamycin.

“I was prescribed clindamycin for an infected tooth that required a root canal. The clindamycin worked for the infection, but 10 days later I had diarrhea. I went to my doctor, who said that this was a side effect of this antibiotic. He thinks it is the worst antibiotic to take. Who knew? I was tested for C diff colitis and was positive, so I was put on a different antibiotic.
I am now trying to recover. If you have any symptoms after taking this med, please get tested. It is crazy that this happens.”
Nov. 9, 2010

I had a wisdom tooth extraction in mid-November 2010. There was really nothing wrong with the tooth itself, but it created a cavity in the tooth next to it. So my dentist took it out to be able to fill that cavity.
She was concerned that the extraction area might become infected and prescribed clindamycin (56 pills). It took me just about a week (6 or 7 days) to finish the specified course. I had no side effects during the course.
A couple days after finishing the last dose, however, I developed a rash all over my upper body. After a couple days I developed intense diarrhea. This diarrhea was unlike anything I’ve experienced before in my entire life and lasted for 6 days.
I went to the ER and told them that I took this anti-biotic. They said that that’s what caused the diarrhea. I went on a diet of dry foods, yogurt, and probiotics. After the diarrhea stopped, I still didn’t feel quite like I did before taking clindamycin. I had bloating and my colon was still feeling as if I was having diarrhea, although there was no actual diarrhea.
Now, over a month after the diarrhea finished, I’m still not completely well. When I go to the bathroom, the stool is not normal. Has anyone else experienced similar side effects? How long did they last?
Jan. 3, 2011

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  1. judy
    Eureka ca

    I,too, was prescribed clindamycin at the local ER, when I was diagnosed with a staff infection from a rose thorn in my finger. Unlike most, I was aware that this antibiotic can cause problems, since my own sister had been previously hospitalized with severe c diff colitis previously. However, my family doctor and pharmacist assured me that if I took probiotics 2 hours before or 2 hours after and consumed the antibiotic with food I should not have any problems.

    I followed their recommendations religiously and finished the 10 day course of treatment without any reactions. Then on the 8th day after my final pill, I started experiencing abdominal pains, cold sweats, severe diarrhea and a fever. At first I thought it was the flu, but after 3 days with no improvement I realized my symptoms were consistent with my sister’s and went to the ER where I was put on iv fluids and given the positive diagnosis of c diff. My ER physician put me on a 7 day prescription of flagyl. I am on the second day of the prescription with little improvement so far. I still have frequent diarrhea, am extremely fatigued, have no appetite, am losing weight…and I’m angry!

    Why is this drug on the market?

  2. FMMR
    Albany, N

    Clindamycin for infected tooth. Serious spasms in my esophagus while taking it, and , now, about two weeks after, I have diarrhea and mostly mucous discharge for bowel movements.

  3. Daniel
    Florence, SC

    I was put on this for strep throat. Generic dosage 3 times a day 300 mg. I took 9 pills of this before I could not do anymore. It worked great until the bloating got me so nauseous to where I could not eat to take the medicine. I am really upset right now because I already have IBS and am already nauseous enough on a regular basis without the help.

    Why did the doctor prescribe me this knowing I had this condition and that THIS could happen? I am hoping 9 pills was not too much to where I have to go and get tested AGAIN for this! I was placed on ZPack the 6-dose pack for my strep, and hopefully this works. At night I am having this horrible bloating feeling at the very top of my colon, and it almost requires me to take Zofran to sleep. Do I need to be concerned about this? What are the next steps that I need to take?

  4. Ken

    I had foot surgery and was prescribed clindamyacin. Diaherea started after I finished it. Dr said he gave me clindamyacin because other antibiotics interfered with my warfarin. I just started taking metronidazole to clear up c diff. Metronidazole interferes with warfarin and I now need to get my INR checked at least every week. Nice try Doc 😠. Hope this clears up diaherea and c diff. Also metronidazole has all kinds of potential side effects that scare the crap out of me. Also can’t have a beer while taking metronidazole. But I have plenty of crap now. NEVER take this drug.

  5. Flora

    A doctor prescribed me Clindamycin for a small skin infection shortly after I already had been on Bactrim for an unrelated issue. (The doctor was aware of this.) Within days I was rushing home from work with progressively severe diarrhea. I couldn’t get out of bed for days, was constantly in tears and almost went to the hospital. But then it gradually started to feel better on it’s own and I thought I was fine. I relapsed the next week and went to the doctor, where I tested positive for C. Diff and was put on a different antibiotic, which cleared it up almost right away. I wasn’t “normal” again for at least a month though, with stomach aches and irregularity. It was a nightmare and easily the sickest I’ve ever been. I will never take Clindamycin again and will think twice before taking any antibiotics.

    Question: Does anyone know if having a C. Diff infection makes you more likely to get another whenever you take antibiotics?

  6. Shana M.
    New Mexico

    I got MRSA after a stay in the hospital when I was 32 and was given Clindamycin as the bacteria showed low resistance to this antibiotic. Like everyone else, it was fine for the first couple of days and then I experienced horrible diarrhea. My doctor took me off the med but the d. continued for over a week after. I became severely dehydrated and required IV fluids. My electrolytes were completely out of whack, which caused some heart problems, and I ended up, long term, with both vitamin B12 and D3 deficiency that had to be treated with prescription strength levels of vitamins; the B 12 deficiency was so severe that it led to neurological problems that continue to this day (and will, according to my neurologist, continue for the rest of my life). Like someone else said, I now seem to be very sensitive to diarrhea and get it easily, though I rarely did prior to taking Clinda. I have to take probiotics religiously or my GI tract gets completely messed up.

    I got MRSA because of bad practices on the part of the hospital I was at, and then I got a lifetime of GI issues thanks to the med the same hospital prescribed me.

    If you have the severe diarrhea/colitis, please do get your B12 level checked. It is nothing to mess with and low B12 will cause a host of neuro issues that I assure you you don’t want to deal with (and that will haunt you forever). If your doc says you need clinda, ask if another, less aggressive antibiotic will do.

  7. sara

    I got cold 2 weeks ago and doctor gave me Clindmycin.After I finished all I got very bad diarrha and I still have it after a week Also my can not hear from my right ear . Now my stomach pain is more painful and worse.I will never ever take this medicine… So it seems I have to see the doctor as soon as possible otherwise it’s not go away. Sara April 25 2015

  8. Ahmed
    Vancouver, Canada

    i was prescribed clindamycin for a chin infection. started having diarrhea about a week after. i had it for two months, back and forth to doctors. took stool and all but still had it. then i was told to get the of-shelves anti-diarrhea pills. it worked after 5 days use. however, since then whenever i have diarrhea for any reason (bad food, drinking coffee and more) i get diarrhea and it does not leave me until i take the pill. my body has become to vulnerable to diarrhea and as soon as i get it it stays.

    • Cally

      You should never take over the counter anti-diarrhea pills when you have C-Diff. I don’t know why your doctor would tell you to do such a thing. You’re keeping the infection inside you by doing that and you’ll have far worse problems if you keep taking them. Get to a gastro doctor right away. Hopefully you haven’t done too much damage to your colon.

  9. Jennifer

    I’m 32, healthy, eat well, never had issues like this before. A wisdom tooth decided to grow in during my 30s. I guess it took me this long to get wise!

    I was on vacation and it got infected, so I did what everybody does: borrow leftover antibiotics from family, then go on an emergency dentist trip.

    The dentist wanted to stick with the same antibiotic – clindamycin – that I had already started taking, but made sure to let me know that it was really strong and that if I got diarrhea I should stop taking it. He also recommended eating lots of yogurt and taking probiotics, which I did.

    I remember now, so clearly, the look of surprise on his face when I showed him the bottle. He asked me how I had been feeling, and maybe because the antibiotics were pretty old, they didn’t affect me like the new ones. I had been taking them for a few days and felt perfectly fine.

    I had mild diarrhea during the course of the new antibiotics, but it started to get worse and my infection had cleared up, so I quit taking them probably halfway through the course. I was okay for about a week and then I started having severe diarrhea every single day, coupled with cramps, bloating, gas and absolute pain. I wake up in pain. I go to the bathroom immediately and my stomach just writhes.

    I thought it was caused by drinking the tap water in Arizona because it tastes like junk, so I got bottled water and I felt better for that day and got my hopes all up, but it has definitely not gone away.

    It’s been 9 days of diarrhea now, and on a whim, I thought to look into the antibiotic. I cannot believe what I’m reading.

    I’m terrified to deal with this for the rest of my life. My quality of life has greatly diminished. I’ve spent my vacation in bathrooms. I am scared to make plans. I had a helicopter ride planned, and didn’t go.

    The worst part is I just lost my job, and my insurance with it. I’m thinking up ways to scam the ER… dress up homeless?

    I go home in a few days, and I guess I’m taking a new friend with me. Big D.

  10. LS

    I’m currently 14 years old and after an abscess on my tooth, I was prescribed clindamycin 300mg, 4 times a day (28 pills). I took the pills alternating with probiotics every 6 hour interval. After around a week, I developed mild dihareea. I continued to take probiotics 3-4 times a week. I currently am suffering from severe, extremely watery dihareea and dangerous weight loss. I’ve been feeling a constipated sensation while experiencing dizziness, fatigue, trouble focusing, short of breath and huge lack of energy which I’m assuming was side effects of rapid weight loss. I’ll be getting diagnosed tomorrow and hopefully be taking some other form of antibiotic to help with my condition. After reading this form I hypothesize that I have a similar/same infection as many other people whom have been complaining. I’m open to any suggestions for possible ways to prevent the dihareea and help bring me back up to a healthy weight. Thanks :))

    • Jane
      United States

      Yes, C-diff is exactly what all that points too. Getting tested for C-diff and then taking Flagyl will be what most suggest. It took me three rounds of this because the C-diff kept coming back. having a full colonoscopy was the only thing that finally got rid of the never ending cycle. They cleaned my colon fully of the c-diff and then I never had another symptom. I will never take clindamycin again unless is life threatening.

    • Shana M.

      Please get your B12 levels checked; I had a similar issue and ended up with severe, permanent neurological problems because my body depleted its B12 and D3 due to diarrhea from this antibiotic.

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