Active Ingredients

Clindamycin – Effect, Application & Risks


The active ingredient clindamycin is an antibiotic that belongs to the pharmacological category of lincosamides . Clindamycin is a so-called semi-synthetic derivative of the substance lincomycin.

What is clindamycin?

Clindamycin belongs to the subgroup of lincosamide antibiotics. The active ingredient is obtained from Lincomycin and is then in the chlorinated form. The substance is produced in a semi-synthetic way. In the usual doses, the drug clindamycin, as a rule, exhibits a bacteriostatic effect. In higher doses, however, the drug has a bactericidal effect, i.e. kills bacteria .

The active ingredient clindamycin is primarily effective against gram-positive aerobic pathogens. These include, for example, staphylococci or streptococci . In addition, the substance clindamycin is also effective against anaerobes, in particular against gram -negative germs and chlamydia . If the substance clindamycin is used together with the substance pyrimethamine , the compound is also effective against Toxoplasma gondii.

Pharmacological action

The substance clindamycin inhibits the synthesis of proteins in bacteria. The substance acts similarly to the macrolides , which bind to a specific subunit of the ribosomes . Because the mechanism of action is the same, cross-resistance occurs in some cases.When the drug clindamycin is given orally, about 90 percent of the active ingredient is absorbed. At the same time, 92 to 94 percent of it is bound to plasma proteins . Basically, the plasma half-life of the substance clindamycin is about 2.4 hours. The substance gets into the internal organs as well as the bone marrow , the pleural fluid, the skin and breast milk . In addition, the drug is able to penetrate the placental barrier . The active substance is converted in the liver . Finally, the drug clindamycin is excreted in urine and stool .

By inhibiting bacterial synthesis of proteins, an enzyme called peptidyl transferase is stopped. The spectrum of action of the drug clindamycin is relatively wide. For example, it works against gram-positive cocci, such as Streptococcus pyogenes or pneumoniae . With regard to anaerobes, the drug is active against , for example, Actinomyces , Peptostreptococcus, Fusobacterium and Bacteroides .

On the other hand, the antibiotic clindamycin has little or no effect on aerobic gram -negative rod bacteria , enterococci , species of Haemophilus or Neisseria .

In principle, it is possible that taking the drug clindamycin can also lead to secondary resistance to antibiotics by changing certain structures on the ribosomes. While taking the drug, meals hardly affect the absorption of the active substance.

The substance clindamycin has good tissue penetration and accumulates in the bones . The active substance is extensively metabolized in the liver. About a third of the ingested amount of active substance is excreted unchanged via the kidneys .

Medical Application & Use

The drug clindamycin is used in a variety of infections . Clindamycin is frequently used in particular in the context of the therapy of abscess -forming inflammations of the lungs , chronic osteomyelitis , osteomyelitis in a diabetic foot or infections in the oral cavity .

In addition, the drug is used for infections of joints and bones or the female genital organs . Clindamycin can also be used to treat acne vulgaris .

The possible areas of application are similar to those of other well-tolerated macrolides. An exception here are infections caused by staphylococci. Because macrolides usually have no effect against them. In addition, clindamycin is also used as a replacement drug in patients suffering from an allergy to penicillin .

In veterinary medicine, clindamycin is also used for serious infections of the skin, eyes or respiratory tract. In principle, clindamycin is a reserve antibiotic, so it is not always used as the drug of first choice for possible indications.

As a rule, the active ingredient clindamycin is taken orally, depending on the indication. Both tablets and capsules are available. In addition, parenteral administration of the active ingredient as an infusion solution or local application by means of gels or ointments is possible.

Risks & side effects

In the context of therapy with the drug clindamycin, a number of undesirable side effects are possible, which vary depending on the individual case. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea , vomiting or cramps in the stomach area are primarily caused by the drug .In addition, pseudomembranous inflammation of the colon is possible, which in some cases develops as a result of taking antibiotics. This allows for complications that are more common with clindamycin than with other types of antibiotics. In such a case, treatment with the active substance should be stopped immediately. Rare side effects of the drug include itching , inflammation of the skin and vaginal catarrh .

Clindamycin should not be taken while breastfeeding , as the active ingredient passes into breast milk . Other potential side effects include damage to the liver , which is associated with an increased concentration of transaminases. At the same time, the risk of allergies and leukocytopenia increases.

Basically, the drug clindamycin should not be taken if the patient is allergic to lincosamide antibiotics. If side effects or other symptoms occur, consult a doctor immediately.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.