Cleocin, generically known at Clindamycin, is an antibiotic prescribed to treat infections of the respiratory tract, skin, pelvis, vagina and abdomen. The drug has also been used to treat acne and other topical ailments.

Recently Cleocin came under investigation after seven people in China died after receiving a Cleocin injection. The most recent victim, a 76-year-old woman, had been injected with four bottles of the drug before she displayed symptoms of vomiting and shortness of breath.

In 2006, the Health Ministry of China issued a nationwide ban on Cleocin and health professionals were instructed to keep a log of patients who experienced adverse reactions to the drug. The company that manufactured the drug in China, Ahui Company, sold 3.18 million units of the injection. The cause of death in the seven patients is still unclear and professionals did not know if the fatalities stemmed from a defective version of the drug or a property of the drug itself.

Serious side effects may include:

More common

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps and pain (severe)
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Diarrhea (watery and severe), which may also be bloody
  • Fever

Less common

  • Sore throat and fever
  • Skin rash, redness, and itching
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

Other side effects include:

More common

  • Diarrhea (mild)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain

Less common

  • Itching of rectal, or genital (sex organ) areas
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