Compare Accutane vs. Cleocin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

ADVERTISEMENT

Accutane (isotretinoin)

Prescription only

Cleocin (clindamycin)

Prescription only
Treats severe acne.

Accutane (isotretinoin) works well against severe acne but has a lot of serious side effects. You will need to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 101 reviewsforAccutane
Treats acne.

Cleocin (clindamycin) is proven to be effective at treating acne when combined with another acne medicine and is available in a variety of formulations.

3.5/ 5 average rating with 115 reviewsforCleocin
Upsides
  • Works well to clear your skin when other medicines have not worked for you.
  • Most people experience clear skin after just one course of treatment. Clear skin can last for some time even after you've stopped taking Accutane (isotretinoin).
  • You only have to take Accutane (isotretinoin) once or twice a day.
  • Available in generic.
  • Comes in different formulations (gel, solution, lotion, foam) to fit your preferences.
  • Works well for the kind of acne that causes large, red, and swollen pimples.
Downsides
  • Accutane (isotretinoin) can raise your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may have to monitor your sugar levels more frequently.
  • If you play sports a lot, you may be at higher risk of bone fractures.
  • You'll have to see your doctor every time to get a refill of Accutane (isotretinoin) because of the high risk of birth defects.
  • Can cause serious bowel problems. Talk to your doctor if you experience loose stools, blood in the stools, or bad belly pain.
  • Can damage your liver. Your doctor will do regular blood tests to make sure it's healthy.
  • Foam formulation can cause headaches.
  • You will likely have to use another acne medicine along with Cleocin (clindamycin) since it is not as effective by itself.
  • Is only preferred for mild to moderate acne. If you have severe acne your doctor will most likely prescribe an oral medication.
  • If you only have comedonal acne (small skin-colored bumps on the skin) without any red, swollen pimples, your doctor may give you an alternative medicine.
ADVERTISEMENT
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Solution
  • Lotion
Price
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Learn more
Reviews
101 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
36%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Accutane (isotretinoin)?

Leave a review
115 reviews so far
57%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Cleocin (clindamycin)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Accutane (isotretinoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
9possible side effects
  • Dryness
    23%
  • Oiliness/Oily skin
    18%
  • Redness
    16%
  • Burning
    11%
  • Burning/Itching
    11%
  • Peeling
    11%
  • Itching
    11%
  • Burning where applied
    6%
  • Headache
    3%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Harm to fetus
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression or other psychiatric condition
  • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Increased alcohol
  • Serious skin reaction
  • Bone fractures
    • History of childhood osteoporosis or bone conditions
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Taking anticonvulsant medicines
    • Taking corticosteroids
    • Problems with vitamin D breakdown
    • Longer-term therapy with Accutane (isotretinoin)
  • Eye problems
    • History of eye problems
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Skin irritation
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Severe diarrhea and stomach cramps
    • Using Cleocin (clindamycin) for a long time
See more detailed risks and warnings