Generic Name: Vancomycin

  • What is Vancomycin?

    Vancomycin is an intravenous antibiotic used to treat serious or severe infections. It is used in patients who are allergic to penicillin and to treat septicemia (blood infections), bone infections, lower respiratory tract infections, skin and skin structure infections, and endocarditis (an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart). One form of vancomycin may be administered orally for treatment of antibiotic-associated infection of the large intestine (colon) with an overgrowth of certain type of bacteria.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Vancomycin?

    Vancomycin may cause hearing loss. Hearing loss has occurred mostly in patients who have been given excessive doses, have existing hearing loss, are receiving other medications that are known to cause hearing damage, or have reduced kidney function.

    Antibacterial drugs, including vancomycin, should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold or flu). When vancomycin is prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, but you must take the full course of the medicine exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may decrease the effectiveness of the treatment and increase the likelihood of developing drug-resistant bacteria.

    Vancomycin should be used with caution in patients with reduced kidney function.

    Mild diarrhea is common with antibiotic use. However, a more serious form of diarrhea (pseudomembranous colitis) may rarely occur. This may develop while you are taking Vancomycin or within several months after you stop using it. Contact your doctor right away if you have stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools. Do not treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor.

  • Who should not take Vancomycin?

    You should not take Vancomycin if you have hypersensitivity to it.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Vancomycin?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Vancomycin. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney problems, hearing problems, or intestinal disorders.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dosage for you depending upon the type of infection being treated.

  • How should I take Vancomycin?

    Your healthcare provider will give you this injection.

  • What should I avoid while taking Vancomycin?

    To prevent bacterial resistance, avoid missing doses and not completing the full course of Vancomycin as prescribed by your doctor.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Vancomycin?

    If Vancomycin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Vancomycin with the following: aminoglycosides, amphotericin B, anesthetic agents, bacitracin, cisplatin, colistin, neurotoxic drugs, nephrotoxic drugs, polymyxin B, and viomycin.

  • What are the possible side effects of Vancomycin?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: anaphylactoid (severe allergic) reactions, low blood pressure, wheezing, rash, hearing loss, infusion-related events such as flushing, swelling, hives and itching, inflammation at the injection site, inflammation of the large intestine

    Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of pseudomembranous colitis, a rare but serious form of diarrhea. Symptoms include stomach pain or cramps, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools.

  • Can I receive Vancomycin if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Vancomycin during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Caution should be exercised as Vancomycin is excreted in breast milk.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Vancomycin?

    Vancomycin is prescribed and administered by your doctor.

  • How should I store Vancomycin?

    Your healthcare provider will store this medication.

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