Clindamycin vs Doxycycline: Similarities, Differences, and Uses

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Clindamycin and doxycycline are two antibiotics that are often prescribed for the treatment of bacterial infections. Both drugs have similar effectiveness in treating many types of bacteria. Still, you should know the vital difference between the two drugs. This article will compare and contrast Clindamycin vs Doxycycline to help you decide which one is right for you. By better understanding these drugs, you can make a more informed decision about your antibiotic therapy.

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What Is Doxycycline?

Doxycycline is a generically-available antibiotic that is effective in treating many bacterial infections. It is primarily available in pill and liquid forms for people who have difficulty swallowing pills. Here are some quick facts about this medication:

Doxycycline might worsen your skin’s reaction to sunlight, increasing your chances of experiencing sunburn or rash.

Because doxycycline is available for sale as a generic drug, it is usually less expensive than other antibiotics.

For elderly people who are 65 years of age or older, physicians will typically prescribe reduced dosages.

Doxycycline cannot be taken with vitamins, iron supplements, or antacids simultaneously, as they can make the drug less effective.

What Is Clindamycin?

Clindamycin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic that effectively treats many bacterial illnesses. It is an antibiotic that inhibits the development of bacteria. Here are some quick facts about this medication:

Clindamycin is effective against acne that generates large, red, inflamed pimples.

Clindamycin is available as a generic drug, so it is usually less expensive than other antibiotics.

Clindamycin is available in various forms, including gel, solution, lotion, and foam, to cater to patients’ individual preferences.

What Is Doxycycline Used For?

As a multi-purpose antibiotic, doxycycline treats infections of varying severities, from acne and rosacea to syphilis and anthrax. Doctors may also prescribe doxycycline to treat the following medical issues:

Skin infections











Lyme disease

Typhoid fever

Relapsing fever

Spotted fevers

Malaria prevention

Granuloma inguinale

Bartonella infection

Clostridial infection

Urinary tract infection

Respiratory tract infection

What Is Clindamycin Used For?

Clindamycin is mainly used to treat infections caused by bacteria, ranging from acne to bone and joint infections. Below are some examples of some conditions that can be treated with clindamycin:

Blood poisoning

Blood infections

Lungs infections

Bacterial infections

Serious skin infections

Respiratory infections

Internal organs infections

Female reproductive organs infections

However, there are some vital points you should keep in mind when taking clindamycin for acne:

Clindamycin is not very effective on its own; you will likely need to combine it with another acne treatment.

Suppose you have only comedonal acne (little skin-colored bumps) and no red, inflamed pimples. In that case, your physician may prescribe an alternate medication.

Clindamycin is recommended only for mild to severe acne. Your physician will likely recommend an oral treatment if you have severe acne or a condition like MRSA skin infection.

How to Take Doxycycline

In its pill form, doxycycline must be swallowed as a whole. Below are general guidelines for taking doxycycline:

The pill form of doxycycline must be taken orally with at least 8 ounces / 240 milliliters of water.

The liquid form of doxycycline must be shaken well before each dose.

To determine your dosage, follow the instructions on your prescription label.

This medication must be taken as recommended by your doctor. General guidelines are that this antibiotic can be taken on an empty stomach once or twice daily.

This medication must be taken at least one hour before or two hours after a meal.

Drug Interaction With Doxycycline

Doxycycline can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Below is a list of some drugs you may know that may interact with doxycycline:











Birth control pills

Bismuth subsalicylate



Other antibiotics

Vitamins that contain iron

Drug Interaction With Clindamycin

Even though most antibiotics are safe to take on their own, there are some drug interactions that you should be aware of. Here are some medications that can interact with clindamycin:

Lyrica (pregabalin)

Claritin (loratadine)

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine)

Flonase (fluticasone nasal)

Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

Aspirin Low Strength (aspirin)

Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)

Alternatives to Doxycycline

If severe side effects occur from taking doxycycline or the medication is ineffective in treating your condition. There are other antibiotics you can ask your doctor about.

These include:

Cipro (ciprofloxacin)

Cleocin (clindamycin)

Flagyl (metronidazole)

Minocycline (minocycline)

Azithromycin (azithromycin)

Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanate)

6 Alternatives to Doxycycline | Clindamycin vs Doxycycline

Alternatives to Clindamycin

Several other antibiotics can be used if you’re looking for an alternative to clindamycin. Here are some examples that you can discuss with your physician:







How to Take Injectable Clindamycin

Clindamycin is typically given as an injection at a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. However, if you will be administering injectable clindamycin at home, follow the guidelines outlined below:

Clindamycin can be given intravenously (into a vein) during a 10- to 40-minute period of intramuscular injections (into a muscle).

Clindamycin is often administered two to four times each day. However, the duration of a patient’s therapy will be decided by the type of illness they have and how well they respond to the medicine.

Clindamycin may be taken with or without food. However, if this medication is taken with food, avoid high-fat meals; they can make it harder for the patient’s body to absorb the antibiotic.

Side Effects of Clindamycin

Clindamycin may cause an unpleasant or metallic taste in the mouth that generally goes away with time. Other common side effects of clindamycin include:

Foam clindamycin is associated with more frequent headaches and musculoskeletal pains than other forms.

Clindamycin can also cause pain when swallowing, so you may need to take the medicine with food or on an empty stomach to reduce the risk factors.

How to Store Clindamycin

Clindamycin should be stored away from direct sunlight and moisture and at room temperature.

Other guidelines you should stick to include:

Do not freeze.

Keep the bottle standing upright with the cap on.

After ten weeks, any medication that has not been used should be thrown away.

Using improperly-stored clindamycin can lead to the development of resistance.

Clindamycin vs Doxycycline: Head-to-Head Comparison Chart

When choosing an antibiotic, there are many factors to consider. Here is a head-to-head comparison chart of doxycycline vs. clindamycin:

Doxycycline and clindamycin are both antibiotics that are effective in treating a variety of bacterial infections.

While they can both be used to cure acne, doxycycline is the preferred antibiotic for acne due to its efficacy and tolerability.

When choosing between clindamycin vs doxycycline, there are a few things to consider, such as the severity of your acne, potential drug interaction, and potential side effects.

Gastrointestinal upset is one of the most commonly reported side effects of both medications. This can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doxycycline can also cause photosensitivity, so it is essential to avoid direct sunlight or tanning beds while taking this medication.

Both are available in generic formulations and are generally inexpensive.

Clindamycin can be given intravenously or intramuscularly, while doxycycline is only available as an oral medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

Clindamycin and doxycycline are two different antibiotics. Clindamycin is a lincosamide antibiotic, whereas doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. Both are effective antibiotics; however, clindamycin may be less effective than doxycycline against certain bacteria. 

Doxycycline is an antibiotic belonging to the tetracycline class. When administered to infected tooth pockets, this drug inhibits the development of germs. This treatment is a gel placed into the affected tooth pocket by your dentist. 

Antibiotics from the penicillin family, such as penicillin and amoxicillin, are most frequently used to treat tooth infections. Clindamycin can be effective if you are allergic to penicillin antibiotics or have not had success with them. This medication is also effective against several types of germs. 

Clindamycin is used to cure various bacterial infections, including skin infections, bone, and joint infections, respiratory tract infections, and ear infections. 

Clindamycin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is effective against a wide range of bacteria. At the same time, doxycycline is a narrower-spectrum antibiotic primarily active against Gram-positive bacteria. 

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that works by inhibiting the protein synthesis of bacteria. When used to treat malaria, clindamycin does not directly kill the parasites causing the disease. Instead, it stops their growth, allowing the body’s immune system to destroy them.

Clindamycin is an antibiotic that can effectively treat tonsillitis- an infection of the tonsils. This drug works by limiting the growth of bacteria and reducing tonsillitis symptoms. 

Clindamycin and doxycycline should not be used with tretinoin (an acne medicine). If these medicines are used together, the tretinoin may make the clindamycin or doxycycline less effective. Therefore, you must finish taking all of your clindamycin or doxycycline before you start using tretinoin. 

No, you should not use these antibiotics together. Clindamycin and doxycycline are two different types of antibiotics, and using them together could increase your risk of developing antibiotic resistance. You should finish taking all of your clindamycin before taking doxycycline, or vice versa. 

Both clindamycin and doxycycline are effective antibiotics for acne. However, clindamycin may be less effective than doxycycline against certain bacteria. If you have had success with doxycycline in the past, it is probably the better choice.

However, suppose you have not had desirable results with doxycycline or are allergic to penicillin antibiotics. In that case, clindamycin may be a better choice for you. 

Clarithromycin is a more potent antibiotic than doxycycline. However, doxycycline may be a better choice for some infections because it has fewer side effects. Your doctor will probably prescribe clarithromycin if you have a severe infection. Doxycycline may be the better choice if you have a less serious condition. 

Yes, clindamycin is more effective against all pathogens than lincomycin. In addition, it is very effective against anaerobes. Clindamycin is approved for the treatment of toxoplasma and neospora infections.

However, sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine continue to be the medications of choice for toxoplasmosis in humans. 

Clindamycin is a macrolide antibiotic, which, when administered as an antiprotozoal agent, is always coupled with additional medicines for the treatment of falciparum malaria. When used for treating severe infections, it is commonly administered intravenously in conjunction with other antibiotics. 

After two days of taking clindamycin, you will likely observe an improvement in your symptoms. However, after taking clindamycin for a few days, you should follow up with your healthcare physician if your symptoms are not improving or look to be worsening. 

You should consult a professional healthcare provider before taking antibiotics because they can cause serious side effects. Also, some people are allergic to certain antibiotics, and taking them can cause a life-threatening reaction.

In addition, your professional healthcare provider can perform susceptibility testing to determine which antibiotic and dosage are required for your treatment. 

Yes, some antibiotics can cause fatigue. This might be a sign of the illness the antibiotics are treating, or it could be a dangerous but uncommon adverse effect of the medication.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

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