Compare Cleocin vs. Keflex

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

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Cleocin (clindamycin)

Prescription only

Keflex (cephalexin)

Prescription only
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
Treats bacterial infections.

Keflex (cephalexin) is good for treating many bacterial infections, and is available as a generic.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 686 reviewsforKeflex
Upsides
  • 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.
  • Available in generic.
  • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule, and suspension.
  • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
  • Can be taken with or without food.
  • Generally few side effects compared with other antibiotics.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Can cause diarrhea.
  • You may need to take Keflex (cephalexin) 2 to 4 times a day, which can be hard to remember.
  • If you're allergic to penicillins or other antibiotics, you might not be able to take this medicine.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Solution
  • Lotion
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
115 reviews so far
57%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Cleocin (clindamycin)?

Leave a review
686 reviews so far
64%
saidit'sworth it
48%
saiditworked well
14%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Keflex (cephalexin)?

Leave a review
Side effects
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
The Keflex (cephalexin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • Diarrhea
  • New infections while taking Keflex (cephalexin)
    • Weakened immune system
    • Not taking Keflex (cephalexin) correctly
  • Allergic reaction
    • History of penicillin or cephalosporin allergies
See more detailed risks and warnings