This site is intended for UK healthcare professionals
Medscape UK Univadis Logo
Medscape UK Univadis Logo

Clindamycin phosphate topical

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Topical antibiotics for acne


Topical formulations containing clindamycin (as clindamycin phosphate)

Drugs List

  • clindamycin 1% gel
  • clindamycin 10mg/ml alcoholic solution
  • clindamycin 10mg/ml aqueous lotion
  • DALACIN T topical lotion
  • ZINDACLIN 1% gel
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Acne vulgaris


    Alcoholic solution and aqueous lotion
    Apply a thin film twice daily to the affected area.

    Apply a thin film once daily to the affected area.


    None known

    Precautions and Warnings

    History of gastrointestinal disorder

    Some formulations contain hydroxybenzoate
    Some formulations contain propylene glycol
    Avoid contact with eyes, lips or mouth
    Avoid contact with mucous membranes
    Breastfeeding: Wash product off breasts prior to breastfeeding infant
    Do not apply to broken or denuded skin
    If accidental contact with eyes or mucous membranes - rinse with cool water
    Advise patient to inform physician if severe diarrhoea occurs
    Prolonged use may result in superinfection with non-susceptible organisms
    Discontinue therapy if marked diarrhoea occurs
    Advise patient that the use of topical moisturisers may be necessary
    Advise patients that maximal therapeutic benefit will take several weeks
    Some preparations are flammable: keep away from flame or fire

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Use clindamycin with caution during pregnancy.

    The manufacturer suggests clindamycin should be administered with caution during pregnancy with the potential benefit weighed against possible risks. Briggs (2011) suggests clindamycin is compatible with use during pregnancy.

    In a clinical trial in pregnant women during the second trimester, clindamycin cream was effective in treating bacterial vaginosis, and no drug-related medical events were reported in the neonates. Available data suggests that systemic administration of clindamycin has not been associated with an increased frequency of congenital abnormalities or feto/neonatal toxicity.


    Use clindamycin with caution during breastfeeding.

    The manufacturer suggests for use in breastfeeding benefit and possible risks have to be weighed up against each other. The Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) suggests infant side effects are unlikely after topical administration however topical administration to the nipple may increase the risk of diarrhoea in the infant.

    It is not known if topical clindamycin is excreted into human milk. Clindamycin is excreted into breast milk after oral and parenteral clindamycin use. It is unlikely that a nursing infant can absorb a significant amount of clindamycin from its gastro-intestinal tract. Topical application to the nipple may increase the risk of diarrhoea in the infant. If applied to the breast area, the area should be washed and dried prior to breastfeeding and the preparation applied afterwards.

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Burning and stinging of the eyes
    Contact dermatitis
    Dry skin
    Exacerbation of acne
    Gastro-intestinal disturbances
    Gram-negative folliculitis
    Irritant dermatitis
    Oily skin
    Painful facial skin
    Pseudomembranous colitis
    Skin irritation


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: July 2013

    Reference Sources

    British National Formulary, 65th Edition (March - September 2013) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    BNF for Children (2012-2013) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Medications and Mothers' Milk, 14th Edition (2010) Hale, T. Hale Publishing, Amarillo, Texas.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Dalacin T Topical Solution. Pharmacia Limited. Revised July 2018.
    Summary of Product Characteristics: Dalacin T Topical Lotion or Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Lotion. Pharmacia Limited. Revised May 2012.

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Clindamycin. Last revised: January 31, 2011
    Last accessed: July 12, 2013

    Access the full UK drug database with a FREE Medscape UK Account
    It takes just a few minutes, and you’ll get unlimited access to information on over 11,000 UK drugs.
    Register for Free

    Already a member? Log in

    Medscape UK | Univadis prescription drug monographs & interactions are based on FDB Multilex Content

    FDB Logo

    FDB Disclaimer : FDB Multilex is intended for the use of healthcare professionals and is provided on the basis that the healthcare professionals will retain FULL and SOLE responsibility for deciding what treatment to prescribe or dispense for any particular patient or circumstance.