Health Guide

Vancomycin (By mouth)

Vancomycin (van-koe-MYE-sin)

Treats infections.

Brand Name(s):

Vancocin, Vancomycin HCl Novaplus

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to vancomycin.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, open, or chew it.
  • Shake the oral liquid well before each use. Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • You may mix your oral liquid dose with 2 tablespoons of water. You may add a flavoring syrup to improve the taste of the medicine.
  • Take all of the medicine in your prescription to clear up your infection, even if you feel better after the first few doses.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store your capsules at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Store the oral liquid in a refrigerator for up to 14 days. Do not freeze. After 14 days throw away any medicine you do not use.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use amikacin, gentamicin, streptomycin, Amikin®, or Garamycin®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, hearing problems, or other bowel problems.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms during or after treatment with this medicine: bloody urine, change in how much or how often you urinate, nausea, vomiting, swelling, or weakness. These could be symptoms of kidney or electrolyte problems.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have changes in hearing, dizziness or ringing in the ears, or a feeling of movement or spinning. These may be symptoms of damage to your ears.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Use this medicine only to treat the infection your doctor has prescribed it for. Do not use this medicine for any infection or condition that has not been checked by a doctor. This medicine will not treat the flu or the common cold.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Bloody urine, change in how much or how often you urinate
  • Loss of hearing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, dizziness
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Fever
  • Swelling of your feet or lower legs

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Back pain
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, or stomach pain
  • Headache

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 1/4/2018
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