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Vancomycin

Vancomycin

Descriptions of Vancomycin

Vancomycin is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It belongs to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Vancomycin works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth. Vancomycin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

Vancomycin is used to treat infections in many different parts of the body. It is sometimes given with other antibiotics. Vancomycin is also used in patients with heart valve disease (e.g., rheumatic fever) or prosthetic (artificial) heart valves who are allergic to penicillin.

Uses

Vancomycin is an antibiotic used to treat infections. This form of vancomycin is used to treat a certain intestinal condition (colitis) caused by bacteria. This condition causes diarrhea and stomach/abdominal discomfort or pain. When vancomycin is taken by mouth, it stays in the intestines to stop the growth of certain bacteria that cause these symptoms.

What is vancomycin and how does it work?

Vancomycin is a prescription drug used to treat a certain intestinal condition (colitis) that may rarely happen after treatment with antibiotics. This condition causes diarrhea and stomach/abdominal pain. When vancomycin is taken by mouth, it stays in the intestines to stop the growth of bacteria that cause these symptoms.

How should I take vancomycin?

Take vancomycin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Taking more of this medicine will not make it more effective, and may cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may also increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Vancomycin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu.

If you use this medication long-term, you may need frequent medical tests at your doctor's office.

What are side effects associated with using vancomycin?

Side effects of vancomycin include:

  • bitter taste
  • reddish rash on face and upper body (intravenously: red neck or red man syndrome, related to infusion rate)
  • low blood pressure accompanied by flushing
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • drug fever
  • high levels of white blood cells (eosinophilia)
  • rash
  • fatigue
  • swelling of hands and feet
  • urinary tract infection
  • back pain

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What other drugs will affect vancomycin?

Other drugs may interact with vancomycin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

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