Vancomycin is an antibiotic. It is used to treat diarrhoea and colitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the colon) that is associated with Clostridium difficile infection.
This medicine may also be used to treat enterocolitis (inflammation of the digestive tract) caused by Staphylococci bacteria.
Take Vancomycin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
This medicine is available as a capsule or as an oral solution.
If you are taking an oral solution, shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure your dose.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your infection.
Take Vancomycin at regular intervals. Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of this medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take Vancomycin if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- inflammatory bowel disease (inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract)
- difficulty hearing or previous deafness
- kidney disease
- anuria (unable to pass urine)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Vancomycin to a child or an elderly. Children and elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects.
If you are going to have an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. blood tests, kidney function tests) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
- Regular monitoring of ear function and sense of hearing may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Vancomycin may cause any of the following side effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, back pain, chills, fever, tiredness, and noisy breathing (high-pitched sound).
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop taking this medicine and inform your doctor immediately. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help, although they are not common. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any hearing difficulties or loss of hearing.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- other antibiotics e.g. polymyxin, gentamicin, bacitracin
- medicine to treat fungal infection e.g. amphotericin B
- medicine for cancer e.g. cisplatin
- medicines for water retention or “water pills” e.g. furosemide
- medicine for pain and inflammation e.g. ibuprofen
- muscle relaxants used during surgery e.g. succinylcholine, vecuronium
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Vancomycin.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Refrigerate the oral solution (between 2-8°C). Do not freeze it otherwise it will become less effective. Throw away any unused portion after 14 days.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.