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Generic Name: clindamycin hydrochloride
Product Name: Cleocin

Indication: What Cleocin is used for

Cleocin is an antibiotic. It is used to treat infections in different parts of the body caused by bacteria.

Cleocin is recommended for patients who are allergic to penicillin or patients for whom penicillin is not suitable.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Cleocin has been prescribed for you.

Your doctor may have prescribed Cleocin for another reason.

This medicine is available only with a doctor’s prescription.

Cleocin is not addictive.

Action: How Cleocin works

Cleocin works by killing or stopping the growth of the bacteria causing your infection.

It will not work against viral infections such as colds or flu.

Cleocin capsules contain 150 mg of the active ingredient clindamycin hydrochloride.

It also contains the inactive ingredients lactose, magnesium stearate, maize starch, purified talc, titanium dioxide and gelatin with traces of edible black ink.

Dose advice: How to use Cleocin

Before you take Cleocin capsules

When you must not take it

Do not take Cleocin capsules if you have an allergy to:

  • Clindamycin or lincomycin;
  • Lactose or any of the other ingredients listed here (see ‘Product Description’).
    • Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing;
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body;
  • Rash, itching or hives on the skin.

Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering.

If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.

If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.

Before you start to take it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:

  • Severe diarrhoea associated with the use of antibiotics;
  • Severe liver disease;
  • Severe kidney disease;
  • Any gastrointestinal (stomach or gut) problems.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. Clindamycin crosses the placenta, therefore, Cleocin should only be used during pregnancy if clearly needed.

Cleocin capsules are not recommended during breastfeeding.

Your doctor can discuss with you the risks and benefits involved.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell him/ her before you start taking Cleocin capsules.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including:

  • All prescription medicines;
  • All medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements or natural therapies you buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket, naturopath or health food shop.

Some medicines may be affected by Cleocin or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:

  • Erythromycin, a medicine used to treat bacterial infections;
  • Medicines used for muscle relaxation in anaesthesia.

Your doctor or pharmacist may have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking this medicine.

How to take Cleocin capsules

Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully.

They may differ from the information contained here.

If you do not understand the instructions in this leaflet, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.

How much to take

Your doctor will tell you how many capsules you need to take each day. This may depend on your condition and whether or not you are taking any other medicines.

The usual adult dose of Cleocin is one capsule of 150 mg taken four times a day. The number of capsules may increase with more serious infections. Your doctor will tell you how long to take your capsules.

Cleocin capsules are not recommended in children for formulation reasons.

How to take it

Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water.

When to take it

Space the doses of Cleocin capsules evenly apart and take them at about the same time each day.

This will allow the medicine to have its best effect. It will also help you remember when to take it. It does not matter if you take this medicine before or after food.

How long to take it

Continue taking Cleocin until you finish the box or until your doctor recommends.

Check with your doctor if you are not sure how long you should be taking it.

If you forget to take it

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.

Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember, then go back to taking your capsules as you would normally.

Do not double a dose to make up for the dose you have missed.

If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take too much (overdose)

Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26) for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital, if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much Cleocin.

Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning.

You may need urgent medical attention.

Keep telephone numbers for these places/services handy.

Have the Cleocin box or this leaflet available to give details if needed.

While you are taking Cleocin capsules

Things you must do

If the symptoms of your infection do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, tell your doctor.

If you get severe diarrhoea, tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse immediately. Do this even if it occurs several weeks after you have stopped taking Cleocin.

Diarrhoea may mean that you have a serious condition affecting your bowel. You may need urgent medical care.

Do not take any medicines for diarrhoea without first checking with your doctor.

If you get a severe skin rash tell your doctor immediately. Do this even if the rash occurs after Cleocin has been stopped.

A severe skin rash may mean you are having an allergic reaction to Cleocin. You may need urgent medical care.

If you get a sore, white mouth or tongue while taking or soon after stopping Cleocin, tell your doctor. Also, tell your doctor if you get vaginal itching or discharge.

This may mean you have a fungal/ yeast infection called thrush. Sometimes the use of this medicine allows fungi/yeast to grow and the above symptoms to occur. Cleocin does not work against fungi/ yeast.

If you become pregnant while taking Cleocin, tell your doctor immediately.

If you are about to be started on any new medicine, remind your doctor and pharmacist that you are taking Cleocin.

Tell all doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking Cleocin.

Things you must not do

Do not take Cleocin to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.

Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.

Do not stop taking your medicine or lower the dosage without checking with your doctor.

If you stop taking it Cleocin too soon, the infection may not clear completely or your symptoms may return.

After using Cleocin capsules


Keep your Cleocin capsules in their original container in a cool, dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C.

If you take the capsules out of their original container, they may not keep as well.

Do not store your Cleocin capsules, or any other medicine, in a bathroom or near a sink.

Do not leave them in the car or on window sills.

Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.

Keep your Cleocin capsules where children cannot reach them.

A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.


If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or the expiry date has passed, ask your pharmacist what to do with any medicine that is left over.

Schedule of Cleocin

Cleocin is a Schedule 4 (Prescription Only Medicine).

Side effects of Cleocin

Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Cleocin.

All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical attention if you get some of the side effects.

It can be difficult to tell whether side effects are the result of taking Cleocin, effects of your condition or side effects of other medicines you may be taking. For this reason, it is important to tell your doctor of any change in your condition.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.

Do not be alarmed by the list of side effects.

You may not experience any of them.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you;

  • Oral thrush – white, furry, sore tongue and mouth;
  • Vaginal thrush – sore and itchy vagina and/or discharge;
  • Stomach cramping;
  • Stomach discomfort;
  • Inflammation of the food pipe; discomfort or/and pain of the food pipe;
  • Loss or distorted sense of taste;
  • Nausea and/or vomiting;
  • Heartburn;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Skin rash; irritation of the skin;
  • Joint pain and swelling.

Tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital, if you notice any of the following:

  • Sudden signs of allergy such as rash, itching or hives on the skin, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body, shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing;
  • Moderate or severe skin rash or blisters often with flu-like symptoms;
  • Enlarged lymph glands and/or fever;
  • Diarrhoea, usually with blood and mucus, stomach pain and fever;
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin, also called jaundice.

The above list includes very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation.

After finishing it

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following side effects, particularly if they occur several weeks after stopping treatment with Cleocin:

  • Severe stomach cramps;
  • Watery and severe diarrhoea which may also be bloody;
  • Fever, in combination with one or both of the above.

Cleocin capsules can cause some bacteria, which are normally present in the bowel and normally harmless to multiply and therefore cause the above symptoms. You may need urgent medical attention. However, this side effect is rare.

Do not take any medicine for diarrhoea without first checking with your doctor.

Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.

Some of these side effects (for example, abnormal blood test results and certain kidney and liver conditions) can only be found when your doctor does tests from time to time to check your progress.

For further information talk to your doctor.


  1. Cleocin Consumer Medicine Information (CMI). West Ryde, NSW: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. April 2016. [PDF]
  2. Cleocin Product Information (PI). West Ryde, NSW: Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. July 2017. [PDF]

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Posted On: 22 July, 2003
Modified On: 30 September, 2017
Reviewed On: 30 September, 2017

Created by: myVMC