man on toilet with a help sign

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. Bal

    I got gingivitis infection after a broken filling around my teeth, went to GP Friday 27 November 2015, amoxycillin antibiotic given, it caused severe itchy and red rashes and hives, went to emergency,Sunday 29/11/15, hives and rashes treated with Zyrtec antihistamine and stopped the amoxycillin. Doc at emergency department prescribed me Clindamycin instead for my gingivitis 150×2=300mg x3, 8 hourly. After going Clindamycin for 1 day caused me terrible diarrhea, so next morning (today) I stopped taking g Clindamycin and commenced hydrolytes dehydration therapy myself from last night, this morning 1 December 2015, I am going to see GP again to discuss what we need to do from here.

  2. lou

    My 79yr old spouse, of57yrs, passed away in October 2015 from c-diff .
    had no idea when he took antibiotics in late June, he would develope c-diff.
    Don’t know why clindmycin isn’t removed from FDA approved antibiotics.

  3. Jackie

    I always had trouble with bartolin cysts… I had a nasty one this week. 10-14-15..I went to celebration hospital in kissimmee florida to get it Lanced.. usually I’m prescribed doxycyclin100.. but this no it all doctor gave me clindamycin hcl 150. I started taking it Sunday the 18th.. Told me to take it 3 times a day and I am. Nothing going wrong the swelling from my cyst is going down.

    I’m feeling great about that, who has had a bartolin cystit can testify to what in saying right now. .that’s a nightmare all by itself. ..but we’re talking about clindamycin (diarrhea inducing pills). So Tuesday night went to bed diarrhea woke me up about 5am.. I’m wondering what I ate.. my man ate the same thing and he’s sound asleep. I’m on the bowl wringing and squeezing my belly and my joints because the diarrhea is causing ache’s in my knees. ..I’m in a f***up place right now… so not thinking that is the clindamycin doing it.. I take my 6am pill, later the other 1.. I eat whatever I wanted. Took the last pill 7pm. Had my dinner went to bed and 5am I’m waking up with diarrhea. I finally said let my Google to see if this happening to any one else. ..I learn off of people that put there business on the Web. THANK YOU’LL FOR THAT,.. that’s why I’m getting up going back to ER for them to stop this @#$%!…

  4. David

    I was prescribed Clindamycin by a dentist after a fractured tooth was removed (4 times per day, 300 mg, 28 capsules total). After two days on Clindamycin I had severe diarrhea and immediately stopped treatment. Two days after stopping Clindamycin my GP suggested that I submit a stool sample if the diarrhea had not stopped after one week. The diarrhea did not improve after a week despite eating lots of yogurt so I submitted a stool sample. At the 1.5 week of constant diarrhea I returned to the GP and he prescribed Flagyl. The Flagyl resulted in a solid stool after about 24 hours which was maintained for an additional two days at which point the diarrhea returned, which was about an hour ago. I’m still waiting on the results of the stool sample. I should point out I have never experienced anything like this and generally have been able to tolerate antibiotics. I’ll provide an update once more information is available, and thanks to all for sharing. Perhaps dentists and other medical professionals should take note of what is written here.

  5. Melanie
    NC, USA

    Went to Dr for tonsillitis and was put on Amoxicillin, took 4 doses but it wasn’t working… I felt worse…so I stopped. Fast forward 3 weeks, still feeling yucky so went to Dr who prescribed Clarithromycin and said if I don’t feel better in 48 hrs, he would refer me to ENT. ENT said first two antibiotics don’t work, prescribed Clindamycin…. 1 pill and my system is wrecked. Diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, shakes, not sleeping. Ended up going to ER…. taking Zofran, Pepcid, and getting tested for C-diff tomorrow. ER doc said I shouldn’t have been given antibiotics in the first place and told me to stop taking immediately. 4 Drs, 4 different opinions. I have been taking heavy probiotics the whole time. I’ve gone from a healthy person who never takes pharmaceuticals to a complete wreck. Now I’m wondering if most of my bad symptoms from this whole month long odyssey have been from the antibiotics all along…..

  6. Leah

    My endodontist prescribed Clindamycin for a surgical root canal. Shortly after surgery, I became more regular than ever. It was great! No straining in the bathroom. In another two weeks, I woke up convinced I had a stomach virus. No such luck. It was c-diff. I’m almost finished with the first round of generic flagyl and am seeing some improvement. At least I can go longer before having to sit on the toilet and come out empty. I also do not understand how doctors/dentists can prescribe this stuff so casually. If mine had warned me of the drug’s possible complication, I would have refused to take it.

  7. Usman

    My dentist gave me clindamycin for pain in wisdom tooth. Tooth will be removed this week but after taking clindamycin for 2 days I had severe diarrhea. I stopped it after 2 days, went to doctor and told him what happened to me … after listening to me he just passed a smile while saying its the best antibiotics … I wanted to kill him on spot for that.
    Now its 2 days that I have left clindamycin but still I have severe diarrhea.
    Only after going through this website I have found out about C-diff, I still dont know what is C-diff but if it is something serious … I am gonna make this doctor’s life hell.
    I dont know about other parts of the world but where I live doctors feel they are like GODS and they can do anything …

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

    • Jan

      I was hospitalized twice this spring/summer because of C.diff. Both times I could not walk, did not eat, and was delirious due to dehydration.

      I was given a prescription for clindamycin before I went to England this spring because I had injured my knee and was worried about it. They said not to take the drug unless I thought my knee was getting worse as it could cause diarrhea. They didn’t emphasize how dramatic the diarrhea could be. I thought, “Everyone gets diarrhea once in awhile, so no big deal.” Of course I worried about it and did take the drug about a week into my trip overseas. Soft stools and some diarrhea started but didn’t interfere with my trip. When I got home the diarrhea began in earnest and was uncontrollable (meaning I messed up a lot of underwear and had to wear Depends). I became so dehydrated I could not walk and was delirious. My husband took me to the ER and I was admitted. The C.diff was not really treated – they were more concerned about my (in)ability to walk – and sent me back home with it. I became dehydrated a second time and was so ill my husband thought if he’d waited one more day to get me to the ER, I wouldn’t have made it. This time I was put in isolation and when released four days later was told I must be in quarantine at home until a) the medication for C.diff had been finished and b) the diarrhea was gone. Before I was released my husband was told to use a bleach solution to clean all toilets, counters, etc. before I got home.

      When I had finished the med. and had no more diarrhea (but still had weird stools), I was supposedly free of it, but it returned quickly. I did the same thing (finish med. and have no more diarrhea, then give the dr. a stool sample) except for being quarantined. This time it’s gone – but I won’t be surprised if it comes back.

      My advice is to refuse to take clindamycin if your dr. prescribes it and tell him to give you something else. I can’t believe all these people were treated so casually! During and after the 2nd hospitalization I was treated with extreme caution. Diarrhea that persists that way should NEVER be ignored. I think this drug should be taken off the market. If it can cause an illness that can prove fatal, like C.diff, why is it being prescribed???

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

      • Taya

        So you no longer have c diff?

    • 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.

    • Lucia

      Are you recovered from this and feeling better

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