In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for vancomycin, trade name VancocinTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Vancomycin is an antibiotic that works by blocking the growth of bacteria. Vancomycin is usually used to treat serious intestinal infections when other antibiotics don’t work.

Do not take an antibiotic without first being seen by a prescriber. Not all antibiotics work for all types of infections. If you take an antibiotic that is not prescribed for you, the condition might get worse.

Vancomycin will not work to treat the common cold or the flu. This antibiotic may not be effective if it has been overused in conditions that are not related to bacterial infections.

Vancomycin is usually prescribed to be taken every 6 hours or as directed by your physician. This antibiotic may be taken with or without food. Take this medication with a full glass of water.

Take this medication at evenly spaced intervals. Antibiotics work best when there is a constant level of the medication maintained in the body.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Unless directed otherwise, do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.

Take this medication until it is all done, even if you are feeling better and the symptoms are gone. If you stop taking your antibiotic, the infection might come back and may be harder to treat.

Warnings & Cautions

  • Antibiotic therapy may sometimes allow for growth of yeast in your mouth or cause a vaginal yeast infection in women. Tell your pharmacist or doctor if you have any symptoms of yeast in your mouth (such as white patches or a dry/chalky feeling your mouth) or any symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection (such as itching, discharge, redness or swelling).
  • Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking vancomycin.
  • Some antibiotics may decrease the effect of birth control. If you are taking birth control, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist before starting a course of therapy with vancomycin. You may need to use backup birth control.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if vancomycin is safe for you to take.
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, any stomach or intestinal problems, any other infections or any other medical conditions.
  • While taking vancomycin, you may have some nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20