Your doctor has ordered vancomycin, an antibiotic, to help treat your infection. The drug will be added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein for 60 or more minutes, two to four times a day.
Vancomycin eliminates bacteria that cause many kinds of infections, including pneumonia and skin, bone, blood, and heart valve infections. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how your infection and symptoms respond to the medication.
Before administering vancomycin, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to vancomycin or any other drugs.tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antibiotics and vitamins.tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, vertigo, hearing loss, or ringing in the ears.tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking vancomycin, call your doctor.
Before you administer vancomycin, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.
It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not stop your therapy on your own for any reason because your infection could worsen and result in hospitalization. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.
Vancomycin may cause side effects. Do not administer your vancomycin faster than directed by your health care provider. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your health care provider as soon as possible: lightheadedness or faintnessflushingback and neck muscle paina rash on the face, neck, chest, or upper arms or legsitchingdifficulty breathing
Tell your health care provider if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away: upset stomachvomiting
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your health care provider immediately: dizzinessvertigoringing in the earshearing loss
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Your health care provider probably will give you several days supply of vancomycin. If you are receiving vancomycin intravenously (in your vein), you probably will be told to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.Take your next dose from the refrigerator 1 hour before using it; place it in a clean, dry area to allow it to warm to room temperature.If you are told to store additional vancomycin in the freezer, always move a 24-hour supply to the refrigerator for the next day's use.Do not refreeze medications.
If you are receiving vancomycin intramuscularly (in your muscle), your health care provider will tell you how to store it properly.
Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.
Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children.Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
If you are receiving vancomycin in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your health care provider as soon as possible: tendernesswarmthirritationdrainagerednessswellingpain
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.