Generic Name: vancomycin (VAN-koe-MYE-sin)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.
Vancomycin is used for:
Treating or preventing serious or severe bacterial infections.
Vancomycin is an antibiotic. It works by killing sensitive bacteria.
Do NOT use vancomycin if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in vancomycin
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using vancomycin:
Some medical conditions may interact with vancomycin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have kidney problems, colitis or other inflammation of the bowel, or hearing problems
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with vancomycin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Aminoglycosides (eg, tobramycin), amphotericin B, bacitracin, cisplatin, colistin, polymyxin B, or viomycin because risk of side effects, such as kidney toxicity or hearing loss, may be increased
- Methotrexate because its actions and the risk of its side effects may be increased by vancomycin
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if vancomycin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use vancomycin:
Use vancomycin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Vancomycin is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using vancomycin at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use vancomycin. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Do not use vancomycin if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- To clear up your infection completely, use vancomycin for the full course of treatment. Keep using it even if you feel better in a few days.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
- If you miss a dose of vancomycin, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use vancomycin.
Important safety information:
- Vancomycin only works against bacteria; it does not treat viral infections (eg, the common cold).
- Long-term or repeated use of vancomycin may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
- Be sure to use vancomycin for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
- Mild diarrhea is common with antibiotic use. However, a more serious form of diarrhea (pseudomembranous colitis) may rarely occur. This may develop while you use the antibiotic or within several months after you stop using it. Contact your doctor right away if stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools occur. Do not treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take vancomycin before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Lab tests, including hearing tests, kidney function tests, and blood cell counts, may be performed while you use vancomycin. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use vancomycin with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Use vancomycin with extreme caution in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if vancomycin can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using vancomycin while you are pregnant. Vancomycin is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking vancomycin.
Possible side effects of vancomycin:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. When used in small doses, no COMMON side effects have been reported with this product. Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody stools; chest pain; decrease in the frequency of urination or in the amount of urine; fever, chills, or sore throat; flushing; irritation, pain, or swelling at the injection site; numbness of an arm or leg; red, swollen, or blistered skin; ringing in the ears or sudden loss of hearing; severe diarrhea; severe stomach pain or cramps; sudden leg pain; sudden severe dizziness, nausea, headache, or vomiting; sudden shortness of breath; unusual bruising or bleeding; wheezing.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of vancomycin:
Vancomycin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using vancomycin at home, store vancomycin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.
- If you have any questions about vancomycin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Vancomycin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take vancomycin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about vancomycin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to vancomycin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using vancomycin.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More vancomycin resources
- vancomycin Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- vancomycin Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Vancomycin Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Vancocin Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Vancocin Monograph (AHFS DI)
- Vancocin HCl Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
Compare vancomycin with other medications
- Bacterial Endocarditis Prevention
- Bacterial Infection
- Bone infection
- Burns, External
- Clostridial Infection
- Febrile Neutropenia
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection
- Nosocomial Pneumonia
- Prevention of Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Disease
- Pseudomembranous Colitis
- Shunt Infection
- Skin Infection
- Surgical Prophylaxis