Active Ingredients

Lincosamide – Effect, Application & Risks


A group of antibiotics is known as lincosamides . They include the active ingredients lincomycin and clindamycin . Clindamycin is of importance in human medicine for the treatment of bone , respiratory and skin infections .

What are lincosamides?

Lincosamides are antibiotics. As such, they act against bacteria in the body . The chemical term for the lincosamides is the designation acylaminopyranosides . The term is explained by the chemical structure of the substance. Lincosamides are chemically derived from pyranoses. These are monosaccharides with a six-membered ring structure.

Medically significant lincosamides are the antibiotics clindamycin and lincomycin. The active ingredient lincomycin is isolated from the bacterium Streptomyces lincolnensis. The medically used lincomycin A consists of propylproline and methylthiolincosaminide. Propylproline is a derivative of the amino acid proline. Methylthiolincosaminide is a derivative of octose, a C8 sugar. The connection of the two substances is an amide bond.

The active ingredient clindamycin is produced semi-synthetically from lincomycin by chlorination. In Germany, clindamycin is used in both human and veterinary medicine. Lincomycin is only approved for use in veterinary medicine in Germany. It is also used in human medicine in the USA and Canada.

Pharmacological action

The lincosamides have a bacteriostatic effect in the body. They inhibit the growth of bacteria. The antibiotics from the lincosamide group are also known as protein synthesis inhibitors. They inhibit bacterial protein synthesis by binding to the 50S subunit of bacterial ribosomes. This means they can no longer produce the proteins necessary for further growth .

Lincomycin works well against gram-positive pathogens. They include streptococci and staphylococci . After administration, the substance gets into the body’s own scavenger cells, the macrophages . There it accumulates and is transported by the cells to the site of action. The active substance is broken down via the liver . The substance is then excreted in the urine and faeces .

In addition to the bacteriostatic effect, clindamycin can also have a bactericidal effect at high doses, i.e. kill the bacteria. The active substance can also be used to treat infections caused by gram-positive aerobic pathogens such as streptococci and staphylococci. Clindamycin is also effective against gram-negative anaerobes and against chlamydia . Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of toxoplasmosis , can be treated with a combination of clindamycin and the drug pyrimethamine .

Clindamycin is well absorbable when taken orally. 90% of the active ingredient is absorbed and transported to the site of infection by binding to plasma proteins . In addition to the internal organs , the active ingredient also reaches body fluids such as the pleura and synovial fluid as well as tissues such as skin and bone marrow .

Clindamycin can cross the placenta and thus be transferred to the fetus in pregnant women . The active ingredient also passes into breast milk . Clindamycin is also broken down by the liver. Excretion takes place via feces and urine.

Medical Application & Use

In veterinary medicine in Germany, lincomycin is mainly used to treat infectious diseases of the respiratory tract, skin and eyes. The active ingredient is administered orally, intramuscularly or intravenously.

Clindamycin is used in human medicine to treat various infections. The active ingredient can be given orally or intravenously. One area of ​​application is the treatment of osteomyelitis , an inflammation of the bone. It can occur as part of diabetic foot syndrome .

Chronic osteomyelitis can also be treated with clindamycin. Mainly when the infection is triggered by the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus . The bacterially caused joint inflammation, septic arthritis, is another possible application of the drug.

In dentistry , the active ingredient is used to treat infections in the oral cavity . Another area of ​​application for clindamycin is inflammatory skin diseases such as boils or abscesses . The active ingredient is also used to treat acne . Erysipelas (erysipelas ) , a widespread inflammation of the skin caused by an infection with streptococci, can also be treated with clindamycin.

The drug is used to treat upper and lower respiratory tract infections. These include inflammation of the tonsils , throat and paranasal sinuses , as well as bronchitis , pneumonia and lung abscess .

In gynecology , clindamycin is used to treat inflammation of the uterine lining , fallopian tubes and ovaries , as well as chlamydia infections.

Clindamycin is considered a replacement antibiotic for patients with an allergy to penicillin .

Risks & side effects

Lincosamides have the same principle of action as the macrolide group of antibiotics . This can lead to cross-resistance between macrolides and lincosamides. Lincomycin may not be used orally in herbivores, since intestinal inflammation can occur with fatal outcome. Side effects of the drug can include diarrhea and vomiting.

Like many other antibiotics, clindamycin can cause pseudomembranous enterocolitis . With this inflammation of the intestine, the intake of antibiotics leads to an imbalance in the intestinal bacteria. The bacterium Clostridium difficile can multiply rapidly. It eliminates the toxins that cause intestinal disease.

Pseudomembranous enterocolitis is manifested by severe diarrhea with loss of fluid . It is a serious condition that can be fatal.

Clindamycin can cause allergic reactions . After ingestion, nausea , vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Transient changes in the blood count and liver values ​​were observed. Very rarely, transient liver inflammation with jaundice and the occurrence of joint inflammation have also been described.

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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.