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General Information
What should I know before taking this drug
Dosage information
Adverse reactions

Vancomate (Baxter)
Vancogen (Alkem)

Type: OTC/Prescription/schedule

Vancomycin is a prescription drug available from your pharmacy store only with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner.


Vancomycin pronounced as: van koe MYE sin

What is vancomycin?

Vancomycin is an anti infective / antibacterial drug.

Common uses of vancomycin

Vancomycin is used in the treatment of serious conditions like septicaemia, pseudomembranous colitis, colitis due to clostridium diffcile, soft tissue infections, hospital & community acquired pneumonia, prevention of bacterial endocarditis in susceptible patients and other intestinal infections.

How to use vancomycin

Vancomycin is administered as slow intravenous infusion under strict aseptic precautions as prescribed by your doctor.

Take oral dose of vancomycin before or after meals with 1 glass of water at regular intervals as prescribed.
Take plenty of oral fluids when on vancomycin medication.
Do not skip any doses. Continue to take it even when you feel better.  

You must complete the entire course of medication to get maximum benefit; else the infection will not clear completely and in due course result in development of resistance. 

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking vancomycin?

  • Always remember to inform your health expert if you are currently taking any OTC or prescription drugs like other antibiotics like amikacin, gentamicin, Amphotericin B, NSAIDs etc  
  •  Inform your doctor if you have following medical conditions as Vancomycin should be used cautiously in the below mentioned conditions
    1. Renal impairment
    2. Hearing impairment
    3. Intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis, crohns disease etc
  • Inform your surgeon or dentist if your undergoing any planned procedure when on Vancomycin medication as it increases the side effects of the anaesthetic drugs. 


When not to take vancomycin

Patients hypersensitive to vancomycin should not use.


What are the precautions I should follow for vancomycin?

Children: Vancomycin medication should be cautiously used in neonates and infants. 

Old people: Vancomycin medication should be cautiously used in elderly individual.
Pregnant woman: Vancomycin belongs to FDA pregnancy category B. This means that vancomycin is safe during pregnancy and is not expected to cause any harm to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning for conception.
Lactating women: It is not known whether vancomycin passes into breast milk or if it could harm the baby. Do not take vancomycin with out first talking to doctor if you are breast feeding baby. 

Vancomycin is available as injection and tablet. Your doctor will prescribe it depending on the severity of the disease.

Doses for vancomycin

Use as directed by your physician, your physician prescribes depending on the severity of disease. 

Use the complete course of medication as prescribed by your physician even though you feel better after one or two days of usage of medication. 

For detailed dosage information, consult your doctor who will prescribe you depending on the severity of the disease.

What about if I missed the dose of vancomycin

If it is almost the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at same time to cover up the missed dose.

What should I do if I over dosage vancomycin

In case of overdose contact your nearest poison control centre or emergency medical centre for immediate care by physician. The overdose symptoms of Vancomycin are not known.

What are the common side effects of vancomycin?

Vancomycin should be given as slow intravenous infusion. When given rapidly it causes a group of symptoms called as “RED MAN SYNDROME” which is characterised by flushing, giddiness, muscle pain and hypotension.

Other side effects that may occur when on Vancomycin are
  • Redness and pain at the site of injection
  • Dizziness
  • Backache
  • Nausea & vomiting 

When to consult the health expert about the side effects of vancomycin

Consult your doctor immediately if notice following symptoms.

  • Allergic reaction like swollen lips, hives, difficulty in breathing, rashes etc
  • Decrease in the amount of urine passed
  • Ringing sensation in the ears(tinnitus)
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Easy bruising and bleeding 

How do I store vancomycin?

Store vancomycin at room temp (15 – 30 degrees C). Avoid excessive heat, moisture or direct sunlight, never store in the bathroom. Keep it out of reach of children. Make sure that any leftover portion is disposed off safely.

Vancomycin can cause temporary or permnant hearing loss.Your doctor may advise you to undergo hearing tests before and after starting Vancomycin.
Regular monitoring of renal function and complete cell count is required to look for side effects when on Vancomycin.
Take plenty of oral fluids and strictly avoid dehydration when on Vancomycin.
Inform your surgeon or dentist if your undergoing any planned procedure when on Vancomycin medication as it increases the side effects of the anaesthetic drugs. 
It is imp to read manufacturing packaging instruction carefully if available and always do not hesitate to consult pharmacist or physician for any information. 

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: June 23, 2012

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