Vancomycin is used to treat a certain intestinal condition (colitis) that may rarely happen after treatment with antibiotics. 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 bacteria that cause these symptoms.
This antibiotic treats only bacterial infection in the intestines. It will not work for bacterial infections in any other part of the body or for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Using any antibiotic when it is not needed can cause it to not work for future infections.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually every 6 to 8 hours. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight.
If you are also taking certain bile acid-binding cholesterol medication (such as cholestyramine, colestipol), take it at least 3 to 4 hours after taking vancomycin. Taking them together will make vancomycin work less well. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
For the best effect, take this antibiotic at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same times every day.
Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early may result in a return of the infection.
Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: dizziness, hearing problems (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), easy bruising/bleeding, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking vancomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, hearing problems, other stomach/intestinal problems.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
(See also How to Use section.)
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Although most antibiotics are unlikely to affect hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring, a few antibiotics (such as rifampin, rifabutin) can decrease their effectiveness. This could result in pregnancy. If you use hormonal birth control, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another infection unless your doctor directs you to do so. A different medication may be necessary in that case.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as stool samples, kidney function, blood counts) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from heat and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised August 2016. Copyright(c) 2016 First Databank, Inc.
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