• Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is vancomycin-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Oral vancomycin is a glycopeptide antibiotic that is used for the treatment of Clostridium difficile diarrhea and staphylococcal enterocolitis. Vancomycin is a bactericidal antibiotic (it kills bacteria) that exerts its effects by preventing bacteria from forming cell walls, which they need to survive. Vancomycin is only effective against gram-positive bacteria.

Oral vancomycin is poorly absorbed, and ingestion does not result in significant levels of drug in the body. Therefore, oral vancomycin is limited to the treatment of infections that are limited to the gastrointestinal tract such as diarrhea that is associated with the overgrowth of C. difficile.

What brand names are available for vancomycin-oral?

Vancocin HCL

Is vancomycin-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for vancomycin-oral?


What are the side effects of vancomycin-oral?

The most common side effects associated with oral vancomycin treatment are

Less common side effects are:

Rare but serious side effects are

What is the dosage for vancomycin-oral?

Which drugs or supplements interact with vancomycin-oral?

No drug interaction studies have been conducted for oral vancomycin.

Is vancomycin-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Use of vancomycin in pregnancy has not been adequately evaluated. Due to the lack of safety data, vancomycin should be used in pregnancy only if clearly needed. Oral vancomycin is classified as FDA pregnancy risk category B. This designation indicates animal studies have shown no harm to the fetus, but adequate safety studies on pregnant women do not exist.

Vancomycin is excreted in human milk after intravenous administration. However, oral administration of vancomycin does not result in significant levels of drug in the blood, and it is not known if vancomycin is excreted in breast milk after oral administration. Due to the lack of safety data, oral vancomycin should be used cautiously in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about vancomycin-oral?

What preparations of vancomycin-oral are available?

Capsules: 125 and 250 mg. Oral powder: 25 and 50 mg compounding kit.

How should I keep vancomycin-oral stored?

Tablets should be stored at room temperature, from 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).


Vancomycin (Vancocin) is an antibiotic used to treat cases of Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) and staphylococcal enterocolitis, both of which are intestinal infections that cause diarrhea. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

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REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information