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Clindamycin

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

By mouth

Clindamycin is used to treat bacterial infections. This medicine may be given to patients who have had an allergic reaction to penicillin. Clindamycin… Read more

Brand names include: Cleocin, Cleocin HCl

By injection

Clindamycin injection is used to treat bacterial infections. This medicine is given to patients who had an allergic reaction to penicillin. Clindamycin… Read more

Brand names include: Cleocin Phosphate, Cleocin Phosphate IV

On the skin

Clindamycin belongs to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Topical clindamycin is used to help control acne. It may be used alone or with one… Read more

Brand names include: Cleocin T, Clinda-Derm

Into the vagina

Clindamycin is used to treat certain vaginal infections. It works by killing the bacteria. This medicine will not work for vaginal fungus or yeast infections… Read more

Brand names include: Cleocin Vaginal, Cleocin Vaginal Ovules

Drug classes About this
Antiacne, Antibacterial, Antibiotic, Antimalarial
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Treatment of abnormal vaginal flora in early pregnancy with clindamycin for the prevention of spontaneous preterm birth: a systematic review and metaanalysis

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the administration of clindamycin to women with abnormal vaginal flora at <22 weeks of gestation reduces the risk of preterm birth and late miscarriage. We conducted a systematic review and metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials of the early administration of clindamycin to women with abnormal vaginal flora at <22 weeks of gestation. Five trials that comprised 2346 women were included. Clindamycin that was administered at <22 weeks of gestation was associated with a significantly reduced risk of preterm birth at <37 weeks of gestation and late miscarriage. There were no overall differences in the risk of preterm birth at <33 weeks of gestation, low birthweight, very low birthweight, admission to neonatal intensive care unit, stillbirth, peripartum infection, and adverse effects. Clindamycin in early pregnancy in women with abnormal vaginal flora reduces the risk of spontaneous preterm birth at <37 weeks of gestation and late miscarriage. There is evidence to justify further randomized controlled trials of clindamycin for the prevention of preterm birth. However, a deeper understanding of the vaginal microbiome, mucosal immunity, and the biology of BV will be needed to inform the design of such trials.

The effects of antimicrobial treatment on bacterial vaginosis in non‐pregnant women  

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a very common cause of symptomatic and asymptomatic vaginal infection. It has been associated with a high incidence of obstetric and gynaecologic complications and an increased risk of transmission of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This review evaluated the effectiveness and adverse effects of antimicrobial agents used to treat BV in non‐pregnant women. Twenty‐four trials involving 4422 women were reviewed. With regard to less treatment failure, clindamycin was superior to placebo but comparable to metronidazole, irrespective of the dose regimen. Metronidazole tended to cause a higher rate of adverse events, such as metallic taste and nausea and vomiting, than did clindamycin. Oral lactobacillus combined with metronidazole was more effective than metronidazole alone. Administered in an intravaginal gelatin tablet, lactobacillus was also more effective than oral metronidazole. Triple sulfonamide cream was less effective compared with clindamycin. Hydrogen peroxide douche was not as effective as a single 2 g dose of metronidazole yet caused more harms. Only one trial involved asymptomatic women and the result was not conclusive. There was insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion on the effectiveness of other promising drugs. Drugs effective for bacterial vaginosis include clindamycin preparations, oral metronidazole, and oral and intravaginal tablets of lactobacillus. Adverse effects of metronidazole include metallic taste, and nausea and vomiting. Information on possible side effects of lactobacillus preparations is required.

Antibiotics for ureaplasma in the vagina in pregnancy

Ureaplasmas are normal flora in the vagina of many women. In some women high levels of ureaplasma in the vagina, which probably reflect the presence of infection in the uterus, may have a role in pregnancy complications, or may contribute to babies being born before full term (preterm birth), or both. These babies can have serious health problems. Some antibiotics can be safely used during pregnancy and are also active against ureaplasma. The authors identified only one trial (involving 1071 women) that was eligible for inclusion in this review. Therefore, there is insufficient data to assess whether giving antibiotics to women with ureaplasma in the vagina reduces the risk of preterm birth.

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Summaries for consumers

The effects of antimicrobial treatment on bacterial vaginosis in non‐pregnant women  

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a very common cause of symptomatic and asymptomatic vaginal infection. It has been associated with a high incidence of obstetric and gynaecologic complications and an increased risk of transmission of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This review evaluated the effectiveness and adverse effects of antimicrobial agents used to treat BV in non‐pregnant women. Twenty‐four trials involving 4422 women were reviewed. With regard to less treatment failure, clindamycin was superior to placebo but comparable to metronidazole, irrespective of the dose regimen. Metronidazole tended to cause a higher rate of adverse events, such as metallic taste and nausea and vomiting, than did clindamycin. Oral lactobacillus combined with metronidazole was more effective than metronidazole alone. Administered in an intravaginal gelatin tablet, lactobacillus was also more effective than oral metronidazole. Triple sulfonamide cream was less effective compared with clindamycin. Hydrogen peroxide douche was not as effective as a single 2 g dose of metronidazole yet caused more harms. Only one trial involved asymptomatic women and the result was not conclusive. There was insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion on the effectiveness of other promising drugs. Drugs effective for bacterial vaginosis include clindamycin preparations, oral metronidazole, and oral and intravaginal tablets of lactobacillus. Adverse effects of metronidazole include metallic taste, and nausea and vomiting. Information on possible side effects of lactobacillus preparations is required.

Antibiotics for ureaplasma in the vagina in pregnancy

Ureaplasmas are normal flora in the vagina of many women. In some women high levels of ureaplasma in the vagina, which probably reflect the presence of infection in the uterus, may have a role in pregnancy complications, or may contribute to babies being born before full term (preterm birth), or both. These babies can have serious health problems. Some antibiotics can be safely used during pregnancy and are also active against ureaplasma. The authors identified only one trial (involving 1071 women) that was eligible for inclusion in this review. Therefore, there is insufficient data to assess whether giving antibiotics to women with ureaplasma in the vagina reduces the risk of preterm birth.

Antibiotic regimens for postpartum endometritis

Intravenous clindamycin plus gentamicin is more effective than other antibiotics or combinations of antibiotics for treatment of womb infection after childbirth.

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