man on toilet with a help sign, poop pills

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. Karl

    Three days of Clindamycin to treat a dental infection. The antibiotic was prescribed since it has little interaction with Warfarin. Immediately induced diarrhea that continues days later. I’m taken probiotics to help.

  2. Pam

    My Mom was prescribed this evil antibiotic clindamyacin for a tooth root infection. The DDS did not think twice about prescribing her THREE rounds of this evil drug. Because of his dental treatment or lack thereof, she almost died just from the infection. But after having to finally refer her to oral surgeon for removal of the root of the tooth, now she is dealing with severe diarrhea and pus in her stool. This has gone on now for 3 weeks and she is not any better. She feels horrible – as if she had not suffered enough. The DDS should lose his license! He never warned her of the potential bad side effects and he never once thought twice about prescribing it over and over and over – knowing my Mom is 87 yrs old and her immune system is already compromised due to her age! Give them half a chance and a doctor will kill you!!! In her case we know she had to have an antibiotic, but it is a known fact the this evil drug is a main cuplrit to cause C-diff infection in the elderly. He should NEVER have kept prescribing it over and over! She may never recover but he will still be playing golf 3 times a week!

  3. Isabella

    Do your homework people! You have to be the one to search out whatever meds are given to you to make sure they are safe because doctors do not know – or care, and so you have to be the one. I learned it the hard way and now no more – I will do my homework and trust no one!

  4. Marilyn
    Wetmore, MI

    Have any of the above respondents researched/tried a fecal enema as treatment for c-diff? Does treatment status for this approach differ from state to state?

  5. Patricia

    Beware after I took this clindamycin I got c-diff and it was horrible high fever felt like i had the flu went to doc and tested positive for it.

    Then after that never went back to normal bowel movements and after being told nothing was wrong and treated like a hypercondriac for ten years, I was finally diagnosed, I have ulcerative colitis what a shame that this drug is still on the market. All the pain I have suffered because of this drug.

  6. Ashley
    United States

    I was prescribed Clindamycin to prevent infection after wisdom tooth surgery. Started having diarrhea the day after I started taking it, but assumed it was a normal side effect. It just kept getting worse from there, and I stopped taking Clindamycin on the 4th day because of severe diarrhea, like 20x in the bathroom per day. The doctor told me to stop taking them immediately. Since then, not much improvement. Submitted stool samples to my doctor and am waiting on C. Diff results. She was concerned enough to prescribe me Flagyl in the meantime, which has been giving me terrible headaches and is also not fun. I know they have to do cultures and stuff, but why does it take SO long for lab results from stool samples?! This all could’ve been prevented if I had simply NOT taken Clindamycin. It truly blows my mind that docs hand this stuff out so flippantly when people have such adverse reactions. Especially when it’s just preventative and not even treating an actual infection! Hoping C. Diff test is negative and I can get off these other drugs ASAP. Sorry to all of you who have experienced this, too. Very disruptive to everyday life.

  7. Janet
    Los Angeles, CA

    In December 2010 I had a colonoscopy and the results were very good. Toward the end of January 2011 on a Thursday afternoon I had a root canal and because the silver filling that was put into that tooth when I was a child had been put so close to the nerve in that tooth the filling ate the nerve and the dentist disturbed some bacteria when she was cleaning the tooth out preparing it for the root canal.

    On that Friday night, my tooth began to hurt and by that Sunday morning my tooth was very loose. I text my dentist and she prescribed the antibiotic clindamycin which she ordered from the pharmacy at the clinic that I go to for medical needs, for the infection in my tooth on that Monday morning. The clindamycin was ready by 1:00pm. I went to the pharmacy and picked it up. I took one of the pills before I left the pharmacy and clinic.

    I took one more that night before going to bed. I took the clindamycin for the next two days. After two days I began to feel pain in the upper part of my abdomen just under my breasts. I text my dentist and told her about the pain and she told me to stop taking the clindamycin. The pain started getting worse, so I e-mailed my medical doctor and she told me to the clinic ASAP even if I don’t get to see her. On a Wednesday I went to the doctor’s office and I was seen by a doctor although it wasn’t my doctor as she was not there that day.

    I was sent across the street to the emergency room in the hospital where I was diagnosed with C. Diff. My colon was very swollen and inflamed. I was kept in the hospital for 6 days and I had to stay at home after being released from the hospital for an additional 8 days for a total of 14 days away from work. It has been 7 years and my abdomen is still bloated as it has never gone down.

    • Jane

      Good lord, that is horrible, my doctor said he was prescribing keflex (cephalaxin) for slight tooth infection prior to my going to the dentist. I was given clindamycin at the pharmacy (that he called it into), I should’ve just called that dr back but I looked it up and saw it was for dental infection so I took it without reading far enough.

      I never would’ve taken that antibiotic if I had known the c-diff connection because I only took it three days and I am still sick and that was over two weeks ago.

      Now, I am very pissed off and going to change my doctor immediately tomorrow, and call and fire this doctor. Why would they give this crap out anymore, I have taken anabiotic’s many times never had any type of reaction.

    • Patricia

      Beware after I took this clindamycin I never went back to normal bowel movements and after being told nothing was wrong and treated like a hypercondriac for ten years, I was finally diagnosed, I have ulcerative colitis what a shame that this drug is still on the market. All the pain I have suffered because of this drug.

  8. Lampros

    I was prescribed Clindamycin 300 mg x1 for 2 months for Scalp folliculitis infection! Guess what happened! My Life has been ruined since then! I have extremely severe diarrhea,i have MOOD swings like somedays im depressed and have anxiety! I have weak muscles since then. Guys please if you wanna save yourself, never take this drug! Its so toxic!!!Wish noone will go through what i am going now. I m so sad.

  9. hps
    Coachella valley

    Started taking cleomycin 300mg 2 days ago for tooth infection. I have had the urge to go to the bathroom every 2-3 hours and diarrhea each time, and I’ve only taken it for 3 days. It is Saturday morning and wondering if I should go to urgent care to be tested for cdiff.

  10. Dennis

    I took this drug for an abscess in my gum. After7 days of amoxicillin there was still some abscess remaining. So my dentist asked me if I get any stomach aches or cramps on antibiotic, and I told her no. I was prescribed Clindamycin 300 mg 4 times per day. I started it on a Thursday afternoon, and by Friday night I had mild diarrhea,once in the morning, and once in the evening. I tried Immodium AD to stop it but by Sunday night to no avail. So I called my dentist in the evening, and she told me to stop taking the Clindamycin. After one week of going on a B.R.A.T. diet and drinking much fluids (water) and electrolytes sports drinks I called my doctor and had a stool test. It came back negative for C-Diff, negative for parasites. Another week has gone by, and my diarrhea seems to be increasing to 3 to 4 times a day. I called my doctor back and told her I’m concerned, so they setting me up with an appointment today to see a gastroenterologist. If you can find another alternative drug for infection, please do!!!

  11. Todd

    Male, 52, excellent shape. My dentist prescribed Clindamycin, 300 mg, 4 times a day for a minor infection and upcoming root canal. By the 6th capsule (day and a half dosage), the diarrhea started. It was then that I saw the “warning” label on the insert (not on the bottle) “This medication may cause a severe (rarely fatal) intestinal condition (Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to a type of resistant bacteria.” My dentist didn’t warn me about it, my pharmacist didn’t warn me about.

    In fact I called my pharmacist immediately and she told me to “continue taking it and call your doctor on Monday”. I didn’t listen to her – I stopped taking it immediately (which is exactly what the CDC recommends). Called my GP Monday, they told me to start pro-biotics immediately and gave me a stool sample kit. Stools were given to the lab the following day. Still have diarrhea 4 days after discontinuation – waiting for test results to come back from the lab but, from everything I’ve read so far, it sounds like it will come back positive.

    Terrified of medications not working to eradicate this. Will be calling my gastroenterologist to discuss various treatment options. This drug should be taken off the market. How the FDA can allow this is unfathomable. DO NOT TAKE THIS DRUG! If you need an antibiotic, work with your doctor to find a drug that is not in the drug class that causes C Diff infection.

    • Dennis

      Hi Todd,
      I was also recommended this drug for an abscess in my gum and acquired mild diarrhea 2 times per day. And have had I have had a stool test that came back negative for C-Diff and parasites negative with a negative blood test probably because I’ve been staying on top of it with probiotics and electrolytes. But I’m waiting today to make an appointment to see a gastroenterologist today. If I may ask, what did your gastroenterologist do for you?. I approached you because I am originally from the greater Boston area and have lived in San Diego, CA for over 30 years.
      Thanks, Dennis

    • Jane

      Same here. Not quite as far into it as you. I’m livid. Why on earth would any rational human being want to take this antibiotic? There are plenty of other antibiotics that are just as effective without the life threat of C-diff.

      I trusted my doctor to give me adequate and proper medical care and treatment, he failed miserably. I don’t have time to be sick. I am a grandmother (Not old, healthy/active) raising my granddaughter and have many kids around and now I’m sick, good job “doc”.

  12. Melissa

    I have malabsorption due to roux-en-y so I already have issues with stools that are somewhat loose and float. I was put on clindamycin for a tooth infection. I was a little uncomfortable the first day in the morning with my stomach but fine after.

    Now today the 2nd day, I’ve been in bathroom 7 times with diarrhea in 4 hours. And my mouth tastes like I’ve been licking a bar of steel. This is horrible. Trying to drink a lot of water. I went through this on a different antibiotic i had for a sinus infection a couple months ago too however. I think that my bidy just doesnt handle antibiotics well anymore

  13. Sherie

    I took only one dose of clindamycin and in 2:30 hours had diarrhea so before my next dose I did some searching and found this page! I’m so glad I did I’m going to mega dose probiotics and not take anymore!! I just messaged my Dr. to see about getting something else

  14. jj
    niagara region

    I was prescribed clindamycin prophalactically after minor vaginal surgery. I did get some diarrhea when I was taking the prescription. However it has been over a week I have been off this drug and my bowel movements are formed but very soft; too much so. I am going to try some yoghurt to see if this helps

  15. Ellen

    I was given clindamycin thru IV because of hip replacement. I was having a nuerotomy in my back and had to be given antibiotics. 5 days later I woke up in the middle of the night with severe diarrhea, and I hurt really badly all over. On the second day of diarrhea I went to the dr, and he said it was just an intestinal bug. On the third day I was disoriented but I remember saying I just wanted to die.

    My husband came home from work that night, took one look at me and said, “We are going to the hospital.” I was diagnosed with c-diff. It was affecting my heart, breathing,very dehydrated, potassium was very low. I was very disoriented, and I remember very little of 2-3 days. Was finally able to go home after 3-4 days, very weak, still had diarrhea. 6 months later I saw a new dr who was shocked that I still had diarrhea. Tested positive for c-diff and just finished a round of vancomycin, and now stools are mushy. I’m hoping that they will return to normal. But I don’t know what to do when I need antibiotics again. I am allergic to amoxicillin and will NOT take clindmycin again.

  16. Dena

    About 10 or so years ago, I had to have a hip replacement. So the surgeon told me to never let a dentist touch me w/o first taking 2 Clinamycin 1 hr. prior, because it could cause a it could kill me. A few years later, I had a 1 or 2 teeth pulled, and had taken the Clindamycin. Wks. or mos. went by, and suddenly I had horrible diaharrea. It was like nothing I’d seen. My M.D. knew, and found a combo of 2 antibiotic pills to stop it. In the meantime I lost a lot of weight, couldn’t get out, was too weak for anything. When I finally saw some neighbors, they couldn’t believe how extremely skinny, (my clothes didn’t fit), sickly and weak I was. But I know of no other drug if seeing a dentist if you have an implant.

    • Wade
      Ladner bc canada

      C. dif !!!! Get tested! I’m going through it now, and it’s brutal!!!!

  17. K

    I was given a IV dose of Clindamycin 7 days ago and then 3 capsules 4 times a day for a abscess in my breast. Here we are on day 7 and the diarrhea is insane. As if I didnt feel bad enough already now this. My history shows that my colon is severely damaged from Endo.

    I do not even know what to do the Drs are not communicating with me. No blood work has been done only a ultra sound done today confirming the infection.

    • Dena

      I’m sorry, I forgot to add that I learned about probiotics, and for months spent my grocery $ on them. But I was never sorry! I bought from a vitamin and health store.

    • Jane

      I think my “doctor” should have to take this medicine. I am so livid that my life is being destroyed that I cannot believe anyone that knew of this would willingly take it. Reading all these posts I identify with so many.

  18. K Night
    Edmonton, Alberta

    I also went to the dentist for an infected tooth and was given Clindamycin. Two weeks after completing the antibiotic, I developed the worst case of diarrhea I’ve ever had along with cramps, low grade fever. My entire lower body just ached in my thighs, testicles, hips. It was uncomfortable to sit, stand or lay down and getting up every 40 minutes to go to the bathroom, day and night is exhausting!

    I went to my family doctor and was diagnosed with C-Diff. He gave me a different antibiotic (flagyl) and I was on that for two weeks. My C-Diff came back two days after completing the flagyl! Back to the doctor for round two of a stronger antibiotic, (vancomycin) this one again, for two weeks. I completed that course of antibiotic and in less than four days, my C-Diff came back for a third time! I eventually had to consult with an infectious disease specialist who put me on a step-down course of the vancomycin.

    When I finished off that course, I took it upon myself (no doctor told me to do this) to start taking huge amounts of probiotics capsules. There is just no way to consume the amount of probiotics you need from just yogurt. About four days into the probiotics, I started to feel the symptoms again, but I just continued to ingest the probiotics. My C-diff finally went away, but I was on antibiotics for 4 months and felt horrible for the entire time.

    The cramps, the aches, having no control over your bowels, and cleaning the entire bathroom with bleach wipes after every time you use it because C-diff is that contagious! I tell any person willing to listen… do not take Clindamycin, ever! Now, I am reluctant to take any medications that are prescribed by a doctor!

    • Y
      Bowie Md

      same thing hapen to my husband 4yrs ago We thought we were done but last month a came back. we are in the second time I don’t think is working I learn tha you can Never get rid it one point in you life a will come back.I so mad Don’t understand why they keeping given this Medication I read some people had died from C Diff

  19. Michelle
    Bedford, IN

    I went to the dentist for an infected tooth and was put on Clindamyosin. I was only able to take it for about three days before I started having diarrhea. They switched my antibiotic, I thought I was fine.

    Fast forward one week later and I now been in the hospital for five days with a horrible round of C-DIFF. My potassium level was so low, it was at a dangerous level.

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