Why is this medication prescribed?
Vaginal clindamycin is used to treat bacterial vaginosis (an infection caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina). Clindamycin is in a class of medications called lincomycin antibiotics. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of bacteria. Vaginal clindamycin cannot be used to treat vaginal irritation caused by yeast infections or by sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and trichomoniasis.
How should this medicine be used?
Vaginal clindamycin comes as a suppository to place in the vagina and a cream to apply to the inside of the vagina. The vaginal suppositories are usually used once a day, preferably at bedtime, for 3 days in a row. Most brands of the vaginal cream are used once a day, preferably at bedtime, for 3 days in a row or for 7 days in a row. One brand of vaginal cream (Clindesse®) is usually used as a single dose, given at any time of day. If you are using more than one dose of vaginal clindamycin, use it at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use vaginal clindamycin exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
This medication is for vaginal use only. Do not swallow the cream or suppositories, and do not apply the cream to any other part of your body. Be careful not to get the cream in your eyes. If you do get the cream in your eyes, rinse your eyes with plenty of cool water.
Your medication will come with directions for use. Read these directions and follow them carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to use vaginal clindamycin.
Use vaginal clindamycin until you finish the prescription, even if you feel better. If you stop using vaginal clindamycin too soon or skip doses, your infection may not be completely treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using vaginal clindamycin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to clindamycin, lincomycin (Lincocin), or any other medications
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin, others). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; condition in which the lining of all or part of the intestine is swollen, irritated, or has sores) or severe diarrhea caused by an antibiotic. Your doctor may tell you not to use vaginal clindamycin.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any other medical condition.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
- you should know that certain ingredients in vaginal clindamycin may weaken latex or rubber contraceptive devices such as condoms and vaginal diaphragms. Do not use these devices during your treatment and for at least 72 hours after your treatment with most vaginal clindamycin products. If you are using Clindesse® brand vaginal gel, you should not use these devices for at least 5 days after your treatment.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using vaginal clindamycin.
- you should know that you should not have vaginal intercourse or use vaginal products such as tampons or douches during your treatment with vaginal clindamycin.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Vaginal clindamycin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- white patches in the mouth
- thick, white vaginal discharge
- burning, itching, and swelling of the vagina
- burning, painful urination
- vaginal pain
- back pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- stomach pain or cramping
- watery or bloody stools
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Vaginal clindamycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat (above 86 °F) and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Your prescription is probably not refillable. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish using the vaginal clindamycin, call your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
- Cleocin® Vaginal Suppository
- Clindesse® Vaginal Cream