Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Vancomycin is an antibiotic indicated for the treatment of serious or severe infections caused by susceptible strains of methicillin-resistant (beta-lactam-resistant) staphylococci. Vancomycin is indicated for penicillin-allergic patients, for patients who cannot receive or who have failed to respond to other drugs, including the penicillins or cephalosporins, and for infections caused by Vancomycin susceptible organisms that are resistant to other antimicrobial drugs. Side effects of Vancomycin include:
- serious allergic reactions (anaphylactoid reactions),
- including low blood pressure,
- hives, or
- Rapid infusion of Vancomycin may also cause flushing of the upper body (called "red neck" or "red man syndrome"),
- low blood pressure, or
- pain and muscle spasm of the chest and back.
The usual daily intravenous adult dose of Vancomycin is 2 g divided either as 500 mg every 6 hours or 1 g every 12 hours. Vancomycin may interact with anesthetic agents, or other potentially neurotoxic and/or nephrotoxic drugs (such as amphotericin B, aminoglycosides, bacitracin, polymyxin B, colistin, viomycin, or cisplatin). Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when prescribed. Vancomycin passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Our Vancomycin Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Pain, redness, and tenderness at the injection site may occur. These effects may be reduced by injecting this medication more slowly. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
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: ringing in the ears, hearing problems, change in the amount of urine, easy bleeding/bruising, fever, persistent sore throat, persistent diarrhea.
Use of this medication for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new vaginal yeast infection. Contact your doctor if you notice white patches in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: 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.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Vancomycin Injection (Vancomycin Hydrochloride Injection)
During or soon after rapid infusion of vancomycin, patients may develop anaphylactoid reactions, including hypotension (see Animal Pharmacology), wheezing, dyspnea, urticaria, or pruritus. Rapid infusion may also cause flushing of the upper body (“red neck”) or pain and muscle spasm of the chest and back.
These reactions usually resolve within 20 minutes but may persist for several hours. Such events are infrequent if vancomycin is given by a slow infusion over 60 minutes. In studies of normal volunteers, infusion-related events did not occur when vancomycin was administered at a rate of 10 mg/min or less.
Renal failure, principally manifested by increased serum creatinine or BUN concentrations, especially in patients administered large doses of vancomycin, has been reported rarely. Cases of interstitial nephritis have also been reported rarely. Most of these have occurred in patients who were given aminoglycosides concomitantly or who had preexisting kidney dysfunction. When vancomycin was discontinued, azotemia resolved in most patients.
A few dozen cases of hearing loss associated with vancomycin have been reported. Most of these patients had kidney dysfunction or a preexisting hearing loss or were receiving concomitant treatment with an ototoxic drug. Vertigo, dizziness, and tinnitus have been reported rarely.
Reversible neutropenia, usually starting 1 week or more after onset of therapy with vancomycin or after a total dosage of more than 25 g, has been reported for several dozen patients. Neutropenia appears to be promptly reversible when vancomycin is discontinued. Thrombocytopenia has rarely been reported. Although a causal relationship has not been established, reversible agranulocytosis (granulocytes <500/mm3) has been reported rarely.
Inflammation at the injection site has been reported.
Infrequently, patients have been reported to have had anaphylaxis, drug fever, nausea, chills, eosinophilia, rashes including exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and vasculitis in association with administration of vancomycin.
Post Marketing Reports
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of vancomycin. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Skin And Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
Drug Rash with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Vancomycin Injection (Vancomycin Hydrochloride Injection)
© Vancomycin Injection Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Vancomycin Injection Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.