Clindamycin (Dalacin C capsules)

How does it work?

Dalacin C capsules contain the active ingredient clindamycin hydrochloride, which is a type of medicine called an antibiotic. It is used to treat infections with bacteria. Clindamycin is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.

Clindamycin works by preventing bacteria from producing proteins that are essential to them. Without these proteins the bacteria cannot grow, replicate and increase in numbers. The remaining bacteria eventually die or are destroyed by the immune system. This treats the infection.

Clindamycin is active against a wide variety of Gram positive bacteria, including streptococci, pneumococci and staphylococci (including MRSA). It is also effective against a group of bacteria known collectively as anaerobic bacteria. This type of bacteria do not need oxygen to grow and multiply. Anaerobic bacteria can cause infections in areas of the body such as the bones, gut, pelvic cavity and gums. Clindamycin is used to treat these types of infections, as well as skin and soft tissue infections such as leg ulcers and pressure sores.

Clindamycin is not a widely used antibiotic because it is associated with a higher risk of developing antibiotic-associated colitis (inflammation of the colon) than other antibiotics. This colitis usually results in severe diarrhoea and clindamycin should be stoppped immediately if this occurs. See the warning section below for more information.

To make sure the bacteria causing an infection are susceptible to clindamycin your doctor may take a tissue sample, for example a blood sample or swab from the skin.

What is it used for?

Clindamycin is usually reserved for treating serious infections such as those below, when treatment with other types of antibiotic, such as penicillins, macrolides or metronidazole, has not been effective.

  • Bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissue, such as infected ulcers, erysipelas, cellulitis.
  • Bacterial infections of joints and bone (eg osteomyelitis).
  • Bacterial infections of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis).
  • Dental abscesses.
  • Treating falciparum malaria (unlicensed use).

How do I take it?

  • The dose of this medicine and how long it needs to be taken for depends on the type of infection you have and your age. Follow the instructions given by your doctor. These will be printed on the dispensing label that your pharmacist has put on the packet of medicine.
  • Clindamycin is usually taken four times a day (every six hours). You should try to space your doses evenly throughout the day.
  • Clindamycin capsules should be swallowed whole with a full glass of water. They can be taken either with or without food.
  • If you forget to take a dose take it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose. In this case leave out the missed dose and just take your next dose as usual. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.


  • Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is important that you finish the prescribed course of this antibiotic medicine, even if you feel better or it seems the infection has cleared up. Stopping the course early increases the chance that the infection will come back and that the bacteria will grow resistant to the antibiotic.
  • This medicine can sometimes cause inflammation of the bowel (colitis). This is because it alters the normal bacterial flora of the bowel, leading to overgrowth of a type of bacteria called Clostridium difficile. C diff produces toxins that can inflame the bowel and cause severe diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. For this reason, if you get diarrhoea either during or after taking this medicine, particularly if it becomes severe or persistent, or contains blood or mucus, you should stop taking this medicine and consult your doctor immediately.
  • People having longer than 10 days of treatment and babies being treated with this medicine should have regular blood tests to monitor their kidney and liver function.

Use with caution in

  • People with a history of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • People with a history of inflammation of the large intestine or diarrhoea due to antibiotic treatment (antibiotic-associated colitis).
  • Hereditary blood disorders called porphyrias.

Not to be used in

  • People who are allergic to the related antibiotic lincomycin.
  • Dalacin C capsules contain lactose and are not suitable for people with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, Lapp lactose deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy has not been fully established, although it is not expected to be harmful. It should be used with caution during pregnancy and only if the expected benefits outweigh any potential risks to the developing baby. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
  • This medicine passes into breast milk in small amounts. This is not expected to be harmful to a breastfed baby, however it should be used with caution in breastfeeding mothers. You should consult your doctor straight away if your breastfed child develops diarrhoea or shows any sign of illness while you are using this medicine. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.

Label warnings

  • Take at regular intervals. Complete the prescribed course unless otherwise directed.
  • This medication should be taken with plenty of water.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Diarrhoea. Stop taking this medicine and consult your doctor if you experience diarrhoea either during or after treatment with this medicine - see the warning section above.
  • Inflammation of the large intestine (colitis) - see the warning section above.
  • Inflammation or ulceration of the foodpipe (oesophagus). Make sure you take each dose of this medicine with a full glass of water to avoid this.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
  • Alteration in liver function.
  • Alteration in taste.
  • Inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis).
  • Skin reactions, such as rash, hives, redness of skin.
  • Decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets in the blood.

Prolonged treatment with antibiotics can sometimes cause overgrowth of other organisms that are not susceptible to the antibiotic, for example fungi or yeasts such as Candida. This may sometimes cause infections such as thrush. Tell your doctor if you think you have developed a new infection during or after taking this antibiotic.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.

For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start taking this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.

Clindamycin may enhance the effects of suxamethonium, which is a medicine used to help relax muscles during surgery. If you are going to have surgery under a general anaesthetic you should make sure that the medical staff know you are taking this antibiotic.

Clindmaycin may oppose the effects of neostigmine and pyridostigmine used to treat myaesthenia gravis.

Oral typhoid vaccine (Vivotif) should not be taken until at least three days after you have finished a course of this antibiotic, because the antibiotic could make this vaccine less effective.

In the past, women using hormonal contraception such as the pill or patch would be advised to use an extra method of contraception (eg condoms) while taking an antibiotic like this one and for seven days after finishing the course. However, this advice has now changed. You no longer need to use an extra method of contraception with the pill, patch or vaginal ring while you take a course of antibiotics. This change in advice comes because to date there is no evidence to prove that antibiotics (other than rifampicin or rifabutin) affect these contraceptives. This is the latest guidance from the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare.

However, if you are taking the contraceptive pill and experience vomiting or diarrhoea as a result of taking this antibiotic, you should follow the instructions for vomiting and diarrhoea described in the leaflet provided with your pills.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

  • Dalacin C phosphate injection.
  • Dalacin cream.
  • Dalacin T topical solution and lotion.
  • Zindaclin gel.

Clindamycin capsules and injection are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.