Compare Cleocin vs. penicillin

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

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Cleocin (clindamycin)

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.

Penicillin VK (penicillin) is good at treating strep throat and is cheap, however, it can only be used for certain infections as many bacteria have developed resistance to it.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 1297 reviewsforpenicillin
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.
  • Compared to alternatives, Penicillin VK (penicillin) is the preferred choice for treating strep throat infections.
  • This medicine is available as a generic, which is cheap.
  • It’s also available in different forms: pill and liquid.
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.
  • Many bacteria are resistant to Penicillin VK (penicillin), so it only works for certain infection typically in ear, nose, and throat.
  • Penicillin VK (penicillin) has a bitter taste. Children might not like the taste.
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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
1297 reviews so far
71%
saidit'sworth it
52%
saiditworked well
12%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Penicillin VK (penicillin)?

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 Penicillin VK (penicillin) 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
    • Taking Penicillin VK (penicillin) for a long time
  • Interaction with birth control pills
  • Allergic reaction
    • History of severe allergic reaction to Penicillin VK (penicillin)
    • Cephalosporin medication allergy
See more detailed risks and warnings