HealthSearch

Health Guide

Vancomycin (Intravenous route)

Pronunciation:

van-koe-MYE-sin

Brand Names:

  • Vancocin HCl
  • Vancoled

Dosage Forms:

  • Solution
  • Powder for Solution

Classifications:

Therapeutic—

Antibiotic

Chemical—

Glycopeptide

Uses of This Medicine:

Vancomycin injection is used to treat infections in many different parts of the body. It is also used in patients with heart valve disease (eg, rheumatic fever) or prosthetic (artificial) heart valves who are allergic to penicillin. Under certain circumstances, vancomycin is also given with other medicines to prevent endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart) in patients who are having dental work done or surgery on the upper respiratory tract (eg, nose or throat).

Vancomycin is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. Vancomycin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

Vancomycin injection is also used to treat serious infections for which other medicines may not work. However, this medicine may cause some serious side effects, including damage to your hearing and kidneys. These side effects may be more likely to occur in elderly patients. You and your doctor should talk about the benefits this medicine will do as well as the risks associated with receiving it.

Vancomycin is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children—

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of vancomycin injection in children.

Older adults—

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of vancomycin injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have hearing, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving this medicine.

Pregnancy—

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast-feeding—

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines—

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Amikacin
  • Cholera Vaccine, Live
  • Gentamicin
  • Piperacillin
  • Tobramycin

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Succinylcholine
  • Warfarin

Other interactions—

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems—

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to corn or corn products—Should not be used in patients with this condition.
  • Congestive heart failure or
  • Hearing loss or
  • Kidney disease—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.

Proper Use of This Medicine:

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine in a hospital. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

Your doctor will check your or your child's progress closely while you are receiving this medicine. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

This medicine may cause a rare but serious type of an allergic reaction called an infusion reaction. This can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child starts to have cough, difficulty with swallowing, dizziness, fast heartbeat, trouble with breathing, chest tightness, swelling in your face or hands, fever, chills, itching or hives, or lightheadedness or faintness while you are receiving this medicine.

Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have confusion, dizziness, headache, decrease in how much or how often you urinate, rapid weight gain, swelling of your hands, ankles, or feet after receiving this medicine. This may be symptom of a serious kidney problem.

Hearing loss may occur while you are receiving this medicine. Tell your doctor if you or your child have ringing or buzzing in the ears, dizziness, feeling of fullness in the ears, or loss of balance after receiving this medicine.

This medicine may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. It may occur 2 months or more after you stop using this medicine. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. If you have any questions or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.

This medicine may cause severe tenderness and pain at the injection site. Contact your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects at the injection site: bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare
Black, tarry stools
bleeding gums
blood in the urine or stools
continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
cough or hoarseness
dizziness or lightheadedness
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
feeling of fullness in the ears
fever with or without chills
general feeling of tiredness or weakness
hearing loss
loss of balance
lower back or side pain
painful or difficult urination
pale skin
pinpoint red spots on the skin
ringing or buzzing in the ears
sensation of spinning
sore throat
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
trouble in hearing
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
Abdominal or stomach cramps or tenderness
back pain
blistering, peeling, loosening of the skin
bloating
bluish color
blurred vision
change in frequency of urination or amount of urine
changes in skin color
chest pain
chest tightness
confusion
cracks in the skin
diarrhea, watery and severe, which may also be bloody
difficulty with swallowing
dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
drowsiness
fast heartbeat
flushing
headache
hives, itching, or skin rash
increased thirst
joint or muscle pain
loss of appetite
loss of heat from the body
nausea or vomiting
pain, tenderness, or swelling of the foot or leg
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
red, swollen skin
redness, soreness, or itching skin
scaly skin
sores, welting, or blisters
sweating
swelling of the feet or lower legs
swollen glands
unusual weight loss

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

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


Last Updated: 9/4/2017
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

Truven Health Analytics. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M