GENERIC NAME: VANCOMYCIN - INJECTION (VAN-koe-MYE-sin)
BRAND NAME(S): Vancocin
USES: Vancomycin is an antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial infections. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.This medication is usually injected into a vein. However, this product comes in vials which may also be given by mouth to treat a severe intestinal condition known as Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. This condition can rarely occur after the use of antibiotics has allowed the growth of a certain kind of resistant bacteria in the intestines, leading to severe diarrhea. When vancomycin is given by mouth, it is not absorbed by the body but remains in the intestines, allowing it to stop the growth of the bacteria. (See also How to Use section.)
HOW TO USE: This medication is usually given by injection into a vein, usually 1 or 2 times a day or as directed by your doctor. It should be injected slowly over 1 to 2 hours. The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, kidney function, and response to treatment. (See also Side Effects.)If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.When taking this medication by mouth, mix each dose into at least 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of water before swallowing all of the mixture.Antibiotics work best when the amount of medicine in your body is kept at a constant level. Therefore, use this drug at evenly spaced intervals.Continue to use this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may allow bacteria to continue to grow, which may result in a return of the infection.Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
SIDE EFFECTS: If this medication is injected too fast, a condition known as "red man syndrome" may occur. Tell your doctor promptly if you have symptoms such as flushing of the upper body, dizziness, low blood pressure, or muscle pain/spasms of the chest and back.Pain, redness, and tenderness at the injection site may occur. These effects may be reduced by injecting this medication more slowly. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: ringing in the ears, hearing problems, change in the amount of urine, easy bleeding/bruising, fever, persistent sore throat, persistent diarrhea.Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new vaginal yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: Before using vancomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, hearing problems, stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., inflammatory disorders of the intestines).This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at a greater risk for hearing or kidney problems while using this drug.During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.This medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.Some products that may interact with this drug include: cidofovir, drugs that may harm the kidneys (amphotericin B, cisplatin, polymyxin, colistin, aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, tobramycin), other antibiotics, live bacterial vaccines.If you will be undergoing treatment requiring anesthesia, tell the doctor/dentist you have been using vancomycin.Although most antibiotics probably do not affect hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring, some antibiotics may decrease their effectiveness. This could cause pregnancy. Examples include rifamycins such as rifampin or rifabutin. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should use additional reliable birth control methods while using this antibiotic.
Latest MedicineNet News
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
NOTES: Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., kidney function, vancomycin blood levels, cultures, complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
MISSED DOSE: For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
STORAGE: Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Related Disease Conditions
Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Symptoms and signs include cough, fever, shortness of breath, and chills. Antibiotics treat pneumonia, and the choice of the antibiotic depends upon the cause of the infection.
Sepsis (blood poisoning) is a potentially deadly infection with signs and symptoms that include elevated heart rate, low or high temperature, rapid breathing and/or a white blood cell count that is too high or too low and has more than 10% band cells. Most cases of sepsis are caused by bacterial infections, and some cases are caused by fungal infections. Treatment requires hospitalization, IV antibiotics, and therapy to treat any organ dysfunction.
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is the most common type of infection acquired by patients while hospitalized. Patients at risk for VRE are those who are already ill, and hospitalized, including individuals with diabetes, elderly, ICU patients, kidney failure patients, or patients requiring catheters. Enterococci can survive for months in the digestive tract and female genital tract. Other risk factors for acquiring VRE include those how have been previously treated with vancomycin and combinations of other antibiotics. Treatment of VRE is generally with other antibiotics other than vancomycin. Prevention of VRE can be achieved by proper hand hygiene.
Aortic Valve Stenosis (Symptoms, Causes, Surgery)
Aortic valve stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. The causes of aortic stenosis are wear and tear of the valve in the elderly, congenital, or scarring or scarring of the aortic valve from rheumatic fever. Symptoms include angina, fainting, and shortness of breath. Treatment is dependant upon the severity of the condition.
Endocarditis, a serious infection of one of the four heart valves is caused by growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves; leading to an infected massed called a "vegetation." The infection can be caused by having bacteria in the bloodstream after dental work, colonoscopy, or other similar procedures. Endocarditis symptoms include: fever, fatigue, weakness, chills, aching muscles and joints, night sweats, edema in the legs, feet, or abdomen, malaise, shortness of breath and small skin lesions. Treatment for endocarditis is generally aggressive antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotic Resistance (Drug Resistance, Antimicrobial Resistance)
Antibiotics are medications used to kill or slow the growth of bacteria and some fungi. The definition of antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to change (mutate) and grow in the presence of a drug (an antibiotic) that would normally slow its growth or kill it. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi become harder to treat. Antibiotic-resistant infections can lead to longer hospital stays, higher treatment costs, and more deaths.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.