How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Vancomycin belongs to the group of medications known as antibiotics. It works by killing the bacteria that are causing the infection.
The oral form is used to treat certain infections of the gastrointestinal tract.
The intravenous (IV) form of this medication is used to treat serious or life-threatening infections that have not been successfully treated with other antibiotics, or where penicillins cannot be used. These infections may involve the bones, lungs, blood, and heart.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each sterile vial contains a lyophilized plug of vancomycin hydrochloride equivalent to either 500 mg, 1 g or 10 g of vancomycin base. When reconstituted with Sterile Water for Injection, USP, it forms a clear solution with pH of 4.0 (2.5 to 4.5). May contain hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide for pH adjustment.
How should I use this medication?
The usual oral dose for adults is 125 mg to 500 mg taken every 6 to 8 hours for 7 to 10 days.
The usual intravenous, (into a vein), or IV dose for adults is 500 mg given every 6 hours or 1g given every 12 hours. For IV injections, the dose of this medication will be administered by your doctor or health care professional. The length of treatment with IV vancomycin depends on the severity of the infection and the response to the medication.
For children, the oral form (given by mouth) is based on body weight and is given in 3 or 4 daily doses for 7 to 10 days. The IV form of vancomycin, also based on body weight, is given every 6 hours. The total daily dose should not be greater than 2,000 mg.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Finish all of this medication, even if you start to feel better. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Vancomycin should not be used by anyone who is allergic to vancomycin or to any of the ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed,and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- additional side effects associated with IV administration of vancomycin include:
- flushing, redness, rash, itching, pain in the back and neck
- severe decrease in blood pressure
- taste changes
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- flu-like symptoms (e.g., chills, fever, sore throat, fatigue)
- hearing loss, dizziness, ringing in the ears
- signs of clotting problems(e.g., unusual nosebleeds, bruising, blood in urine, coughing blood, bleeding gums, cuts that don't stop bleeding)
- signs of kidney toxicity (e.g., puffy hands, eyes, or feet; fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, or throat)
- symptoms of a severe skin rash (e.g., blistering, peeling, a rash covering a large area of the body, a rash that spreads quickly, or a rash combined with fever or discomfort)
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Hearing loss: Vancomycin can cause hearing loss. People with a history of hearing loss should not take this medication if possible. If you experience any hearing loss, dizziness, or ringing ears while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Infusion reactions: IV administration of vancomycin can cause a reaction that includes severely reduced blood pressure, nausea, chills, fever, shortness of breath, and itching. If you experience any of these symptoms, let your doctor or nurse know immediately. Vancomycin may be able to be given if it is administered more slowly.
Intestinal inflammation: People with conditions associated with inflammation of the intestines (e.g., Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) may be at higher risk for side effects, when they take vancomycin capsules, especially if they also have impaired kidney function. Your doctor will monitor you closely for side effects.
Kidney function: Reduced kidney function or kidney disease may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Vancomycin can cause kidney damage. If you experience symptoms of reduced kidney function such as decreased urine production, swelling, fatigue, abdominal pain, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
Overgrowth of organisms: During prolonged or repeated treatment with vancomycin, other bacteria or fungi may be allowed to overgrow. If your condition does not improve or worsens while taking this medication, contact your doctor.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are receiving IV vancomycin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: Premature neonates and young infants may require regular blood tests to ensure that the child is receiving the most appropriate dose.
Seniors: Seniors may be more likely to experience side effects associated with vancomycin as a result of reduced kidney function. They may need a lower dose or be put on a less frequent dosing schedule.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between vancomycin and any of the following:
- aminoglycoside antibiotics (e.g., tobramycin, gentamicin)
- BCG vaccine (tuberculosis vaccine)
- cholestyramine (oral dosage form of vancomycin only)
- colestipol (oral dosage form of vancomycin only)
- neuromuscular blocking agents (e.g., tubocurarine, pancuronium)
- nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
- sodium picosulfate
- typhoid vaccine
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Val-Vancomycin