Clindamycin for Tooth Infections: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, Allergic Reactions

Clindamycin and How Does It Benefits In Tooth Infections?

Clindamycin is usually given as an oral antibiotic when you have a tooth infection and other antibiotics have not worked. However, if your tooth infection is severe, then you might need to take intravenous clindamycin for treating the same. If you do not treat tooth infections, it is possible for the infection to spread to other areas. So, it is very important that you follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor and take the dosage of clindamycin as prescribed.(1)

Usually, clindamycin is not the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for a tooth infection. Generally, doctors prefer to prescribe penicillin antibiotics such as amoxicillin or penicillin, for treating tooth infections. However, if you are allergic to penicillin antibiotics or you have not had any success with penicillin antibiotics, then your doctor will prescribe clindamycin.

Clindamycin for Tooth Infections

Clindamycin is active against a wide range of bacteria and when it comes to treating tooth infections, this is particularly helpful as such infections typically involve several types of bacteria.

Once you begin taking the dose of clindamycin, you will start noticing an improvement in your symptoms within a day or two. If you notice that there is no improvement in your symptoms or your symptoms seem to be getting worse after taking the antibiotic for a couple of days, then you should follow up with your doctor.

Dosage of Clindamycin for Tooth Infection

Most likely, your doctor will prescribe a seven-day course of clindamycin for treating a tooth infection. On each of these days, you will need to take a dose of the antibiotic in every six to eight hours. The dose might comprise of either one or two capsules, depending on the strength of the capsules. You have to be careful to follow all the instructions your doctor provides you with your prescription.(2)

Clindamycin can be taken either before or after eating your meal. Many people often experience some irritation in their throat while on clindamycin, but you can avoid this by taking your capsule with a full glass of water.

You have to take the full prescribed course of the antibiotic as per your doctor, even if you start to feel better within a day or two. If you don’t finish the course of clindamycin, then you might not kill all the bacteria, causing the infection to recur and it can also cause antibiotic resistance.

Can You Be Allergic to Clindamycin?

It is rare to have an allergic reaction to clindamycin. However, if you find yourself developing some kind of rash while you are taking clindamycin, then you should contact your doctor at once as this could be a potential sign of a drug allergy. In some rare cases, it is possible for some people to have a potentially fatal reaction to clindamycin known as anaphylaxis.

If you are allergic to clindamycin, you will start noticing symptoms within 30 minutes of taking the medication. Symptoms of allergic reaction to Clindamycin can include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Itchy welts and hives
  • Swelling in the throat, this can lead to wheezing and you may experience trouble with swallowing or breathing
  • Abdominal ramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Passing out
  • Feeling like something is not right

While there is a very low risk of having an anaphylactic reaction to clindamycin, but it is still important you know and recognize these signs of an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a serious medical emergency and you need immediate medical treatment in this case.

Are There are Side Effects of Clindamycin?

There can be some side effects of clindamycin. These include:

You can prevent nausea or reduce nausea and vomiting by following a simple and bland diet during the time you are taking clindamycin. At the same time, you need to avoid consuming spicy or rich foods that are likely to irritate the lining of your stomach. You can also consider taking a probiotic, which will help replenish the good bacteria in your gut, helping reduce the side effects.

Some people experience frequent and watery diarrhea after taking clindamycin. In this case, you should contact your doctor before you take another dose of the antibiotic. In some rare cases, clindamycin can also increase your risk of getting infected with Clostridium difficult (C. diff). Infection with C. diff happens where there is a disruption in the balance of your gut bacteria. This is a likely occurrence when you are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics can cause the bacteria in your intestines to grow out of control, potentially causing a serious infection.

Some of the symptom of C. diff infections you should watch for include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Watery diarrhea up to even 15 times a day – stool might contain pus or blood
  • Severe pain in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting

Can Everyone Take Clindamycin?

Clindamycin is considered to be a safe antibiotic for most people, even those who are breastfeeding or pregnant. If you are breastfeeding, though, you should keep an eye out for any symptoms of diaper rash or diarrhea in your baby.(3)

Before you start taking clindamycin, you must ensure that you inform your doctor about any previously experienced allergic reactions you have had to certain medications. You must also inform them if you have a bowel or digestive condition that causes diarrhea.

Clindamycin is known to interact with some other drugs, so you need to make sure to inform your doctor about any other medications you are taking, especially if you are taking:

Muscle relaxants that include the active ingredients tubocurarine and pancuronium

Erythromycin

Any anti-diarrheal medications that contain loperamide and atropine/diphenoxylate

Conclusion

While not every tooth infection will require you to take an antibiotic, if you do need to take an antibiotic for a tooth infection and you are allergic to any penicillin treatment, then your doctor is likely to prescribe clindamycin to you. The curse of antibiotics should last for around a week and you will need to take one or two pills in every six to eight hours. Make sure that you take the full dose of the antibiotics that have been prescribed so that the infection does not come back.

References:  

  1. Murphy, P.B. and Le, J.K., 2018. Clindamycin. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
  2. Brook, I., Lewis, M.A., Sándor, G.K., Jeffcoat, M., Samaranayake, L.P. and Rojas, J.V., 2005. Clindamycin in dentistry: more than just effective prophylaxis for endocarditis?.
  3. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontology, 100(5), pp.550-558.
  4. Bhagania, M., Youseff, W., Mehra, P. and Figueroa, R., 2018. Treatment of odontogenic infections: An analysis of two antibiotic regimens. Journal of oral biology and craniofacial research, 8(2), pp.78-81.

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