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. Wolfe
    Washington, DC

    Just posting, because if I can prevent anyone else from the uncertainty and discomfort of taking this medication, I have done something good. This season’s allergens attacked me early. The allergic reaction triggered an outbreak of herpes simplex 1 (cold sore) on my eyelid! my eye had swollen worse than I had ever experienced, so I went to the ER. The attending physician overreacted and ultimately I was put on an Clindamycin IV for an hour.

    The next day, I fulfilled my prescription and took ONE Clindamycin pill. I had horrible, runny stools, bloating, and very mild abdominal discomfort. I IMMEDIATELY searched the Web and came here. I went to the grocery store and bought Currelle, coconut water, and yogurt. It is morning, and I am at work, hoping and praying I only have minor GI upset and not the C-Diff everyone here speaks!

    To say I am upset and disappointed in the ER physican is an understatement. This medicine should only be used as a last result, and when the physician believes the benefits of the med outweigh the risks! It was not that deep in case!

  2. Olga N.
    Pembroke Pines, FL

    Went to the dentist for a deep cleaning and was given Clindamycin to combat any possible infection. I took Clindamycin for 10 days, and I’ve been having daily episodes of diarrhea with abdominal pains for about two weeks.
    I tried Imodium and it stopped the diarrhea for a few hours but it came back with a vengeance. I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow.

  3. Rose
    St Paul,MN

    I was given clindamycin after implant surgery. Within 24 hours the loose stools began to change to diarrhea, then rapidly to watery diarrhea. This was accompanied by nausea and vomiting. I stopped taking it at that point and called the dentist’s office. I was switched to azithromycin which I was able to tolerate. I am relying on a probiotic and yogurt to help my intestinal system get back to normal. After reading these posts, I feel lucky that the severity of my symptoms appeared early and I stopped taking any more clindamycin.

  4. sandra

    My son took clindamyacin for an ingrown fingernail that caused a severe infection. Within a week of taking this antibiotic he got diarrhea for 4 weeks. We cultured the stool and it was c-diff. He is only 6 and has dealing with the side effects of Clindamycin since. He had to take metronidozle for the c-diff and now 6 days later he has stomach cramps and diarrhea again.

  5. Alberto
    Los Angeles, California

    I went to the dentist for a tooth abscess, was given Clindamyacin for a week, and I have been with diarrhea for 3 months. It got better with probiotics but comes back every time. I am scheduling an appointment with my doctor. Wish me good luck.

  6. Tina

    My boyfriend recently had a tooth extracted. Therefore, his dentist prescribed him Clindamycin, after I told him he was already taking AMOX CLAV 500 (which is a common and much safer antibiotic for oral infections). Anyways, his dentist insisted on switching him to a much stronger antibiotic (Clindamycin), but also warned us that this can cause diarrhea, and if you begin to have diarrhea stop the medication immediately. Unlike most of the previous comments, my boyfriend had diarrhea immediately after one day of dosages. I looked up the side effects and found this page of horror stories. If this medication is prone to activate C.Diff, then why would anyone prescribe it? I don’t know if I should be angry with the dentist because he did warn us, or myself for potentially putting my partner at risk. Oh, and did I mention we are traveling abroad in 2 weeks !! I hope and pray his diarrhea goes away by then, and he’s eliminating solids.

    Best of luck to all of you !

  7. Shirley

    OMG I wish I had read this before – I would of never taken the clindamycin
    I had surgery and was given a 3x a day for 5 days
    4 days later diarrhea, but doesn’t seem as bad as what I am reading- don’t know if it will get worse, does it always lead to C-Diff? not sure if I have simple diarrhea or C-Diff, how do you know the difference?
    thank you

  8. Mindy

    My 15 year old son was prescribed this for an abscessed tooth and within 1 day had diarrhea. Six days he still does along with fatigue and not feeling well. I am so angry and worried I can’t even type.

  9. Erica

    I was put on Clindamycin on Jan 1 2017, an infection (MRSA)….The infection cleared well and I was having no adverse effects, until 10 days later, I had the worst diarrhea I have ever experienced, sometimes I would have strong urgency to go, yet nothing produced.

    I would also pass large amounts of mucus, this lasted 5 days, I went to the dr. to find out I now have C diff…Ugh.

    I am going to start a new antibiotic today now! I hate having to take antibiotics! My bowels are so sore, and my abdomen is so distended. UGH HORRIBLE antibiotic..HORRIBLE. this even occurred while consuming many probiotic foods!!!

  10. Brenda
    Atlanta GA

    About C. dif and Clindamycin, my 25 year old daughter has been using Clindamycin pledgets for her acne for years. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis after a sigmoidoscopy in April 2016. Her stool has never been tested. Could topical Clindamycin have caused this?

  11. Priscila
    Los Angeles, CA

    Clindamycin should be probibited by the FDA. Period. I was fine until the dentist put me on that. Same story as everyone else, days later after finishing the drugs- C diff. They need to realize that this disease is awaken for life. My family history is not good regarding intestine problems and now I am prone to problems in my future. All because of this dentist’s prescription.

    It’s taking a toll on me mentally. I have to cancel my trip overseas over Christmas because I cannot stay with my mother who has recent surgery for a tumor in her intestines.

    Thank you so much, dentist. Not only you ruined a vacation but I am wide open to future problems I wouldn’t have otherwise.

  12. Steve

    Hi I’m steven. I went to the dentist the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I had a temporary crown put on Wednesday morning. I woke up with my tongue swollen and sores on my tongue.

    Went to the er, where they put me on valtrex prednisone. And clyidiamicin. It’s cleared up my mouth. But I do have the diarrhea. Like a water faucet. Wonder if it’s just taking its course or go to the dr. Oh ya I missed my turkey day.

  13. Anne
    southern Maryland

    Just prescribed for a very small but broken skin,dog bite (purely accidental). Recd. tetanus shot as I had not had one in eons and was prescribed good ole Clindamycin and Sulfamethazole as well as an antibiotic ointment. Horribly,miserably nauseated,just started with horrendous diarrhea.This after 2 full days of the two oral meds and a half day today. I think I am going to stop it. I took it also because I have had both hips replaced in the last 2 years,it is precautionary for any incident,even dental procedures,where tissue is torn,open or bleeding. What say you out there…..stop or continue or just drop the Clindamycin? Comments/thoughts?

  14. Paula

    I certainly agree that Clindamycin should not be an option. I was given this drug in 2001 for Mastitis after giving birth. Like some of you, I had no issue during the course. But look out after about 3-4 days the diarrhea hit like a freight train. I was tested immediately for C-diff, positive.

    Given Vancomycin right off the bat and told it was the “silver bullet” for C-diff. It worked for the time I was on it, then the C-diff was back 3-4 days later. I was then prescribed Flagyl along with a cholesterol binding powder. That finally did the trick. But the anxiety that came with the C-diff was unlike any other. To this day I dread having bowel sounds of any sort and God forbid I have to take another antibiotic…..DREAD fills my head immediately.

  15. Lashanna frith

    I was on this 7 day antibiotic I got my tooth extracted and clindamycin after taking this medicine I’m still having diherria I don’t feel the same before I took this medicine I did not feel like this…

  16. Kim P

    I got into the middle of my dogs fighting and one of them crushed my thumb. (Rottweiler & Pitt Bull) Believe me they sent no harm to me at all. Anyway, one Dr wanted to cut my thumb completely off, but my orthopedic surgeon said no way.

    He pumped me full of antibiotics (IV) and did 3-4 surgeries to my thumb but he did save it!!! I just lost the nail bed but I’m still able to use it. Ok so after I got out of the hospital I had c-diff. For 7 months I had the worst diarrhea you could ever imagine. I really thought I was going to die. Please, if there’s even a small chance of c-diff, do not take this! Period! This shouldn’t even be an option!!!

  17. Anna B.

    I took this medicine for a tooth infection. A few days after taking it I had mucus and traces of blood in my stool. Also, started getting pain in my left side as well as rectal pain. It’s been four months and although I’m starting to see signs of improvement my stool is still not completely normal and I occasionally have slight rectal pain. How long before I get completely over this?

  18. Jon

    Don’t understand why it’s prescribed for anything. I went through the c-diff deal due to this medication back in April of 2011.
    I will die before I ever see a doctor or take another medication in my life. And I mean that 100%!

  19. Beth
    Key West,Fl

    I am a Regestered Nurse for more than 40 years
    June ,2016 I took Clindomycin prescribed by my dentist for tooth abbcess
    Two week later I ended up in ER with the worst most foul smelling diarrhea ever. C Diff!
    I failed three rounds of Vankomycin and then started Deficid which cost $5000 for 10 day supply if the Deficid does not work then I will be scheduled for a fecal implant
    Three miserable months the sickest I’ve ever been in my life

  20. Imran K.

    I had tooth infection and doctor recommended me for scaling. He prescribed my Clindamycin for five days before this treatment.

    After taking clindamycin, I was suffering from diarrhea (loose stools), which last about 2 -1/2 weeks. Even after this, I am still not feeling well. 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.

  21. Lynn

    I had an abscessed tooth & was given Clindamyacin 300mg taken every 6 hrs. After second day have severe heartburn, felt like I was having a heart attack. Had some diarrhea. I stopped taking it 2 days ago & still have heartburn. I will never take it again

  22. upset

    doctors needs 2 b more careful

  23. upset

    If I had ever known this I would never have taken the drug. It’s awful. Worse side effects than what it cures.

    • Gary C. Borham

      I had a infection on my arm, had it opened and drained in th ER two was after stop taking this med, had severe disrespect for 5 days my Dr. Put me on some melds to help me. Now recovering a 78 yr. old man. Have never been this sick. They should ban this drug.

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