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Vancomycin Injection

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Vancomycin is an antibiotic medication that is commonly used to treat bacterial infections. It is often prescribed when other antibiotics are ineffective due to resistance or when the infection is caused by bacteria that are susceptible to vancomycin. Vancomycin is particularly effective against gram-positive bacteria.

How should this medicine be used?

Here are some common uses of Vancomycin Injection:

  • Serious Infections: Vancomycin is often used to treat serious bacterial infections, including those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This can include skin and soft tissue infections, bone infections, bloodstream infections (bacteremia), and endocarditis.
  • Sepsis: In cases of severe sepsis or septic shock, where bacteria have entered the bloodstream and caused a widespread infection, vancomycin may be used as part of the treatment regimen.
  • C. difficile Infections: Vancomycin is sometimes used to treat infections caused by Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that can cause severe diarrhea and colitis, especially in healthcare settings.

Vancomycin is usually administered intravenously (IV), either as a slow infusion or as a rapid injection, depending on the specific situation and the severity of the infection. The dosage and frequency of administration are determined by the healthcare provider based on factors such as the patient’s weight, the type and severity of the infection, and the individual’s renal function.

It’s crucial to follow the prescribed dosage and complete the entire course of treatment, even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished. If you have any questions about the use of Vancomycin or its potential side effects, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance.

Other uses for this medicine

Vancomycin is primarily used to treat bacterial infections, particularly those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other multidrug-resistant bacteria. It is commonly used for the following conditions:

  • Skin and Soft Tissue Infections: Such as cellulitis and wound infections.
  • Bone Infections: Osteomyelitis (bone infection) caused by susceptible organisms.
  • Bloodstream Infections: Bacteremia and septicemia.
  • Endocarditis: Inflammation of the heart valves.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be taken when using Vancomycin Injection. Here are some important considerations:

  • Renal Function Monitoring: Vancomycin can be nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys), so it’s important to monitor renal function regularly. Dose adjustments may be necessary in individuals with impaired kidney function.
  • Blood Monitoring: Periodic blood tests may be required to monitor vancomycin levels in the blood, especially in cases where prolonged or high-dose treatment is necessary.
  • Hypersensitivity: Individuals with a known allergy to vancomycin or related compounds should avoid its use. Allergic reactions can range from mild rashes to severe, life-threatening reactions.
  • Red Man Syndrome: Rapid infusion of vancomycin can cause a reaction known as “Red Man Syndrome,” which includes symptoms such as redness and flushing of the upper body and face. Slowing the rate of infusion can help prevent this reaction.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of vancomycin during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well-established. Consult with a healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s essential to follow the healthcare provider’s instructions closely and report any unusual or severe side effects promptly. If you have concerns or questions about the use of vancomycin, discuss them with your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your medical history and the specific circumstances of your condition.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with vancomycin. However, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet and stay adequately hydrated, especially if you are undergoing treatment for an infection.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of vancomycin, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider for guidance. The course of antibiotic therapy is designed to achieve a specific concentration of the drug in the body to effectively combat the infection. Missing a dose could potentially affect the success of the treatment.

Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed one without consulting your healthcare provider, as this can lead to an overdose. If it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose, take that dose as usual and continue with your regular dosing schedule.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Vancomycin, like any medication, can cause side effects. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person. Common side effects of Vancomycin Injection may include:

  • Red Man Syndrome: This is a common side effect associated with rapid infusion of vancomycin. Symptoms include flushing or redness of the face, neck, and upper body. Slowing the rate of infusion can help prevent this reaction.
  • Phlebitis: Inflammation of the vein at the injection site (phlebitis) can occur with intravenous administration. Changing the injection site and the rate of infusion may help minimize this effect.
  • Ototoxicity: Vancomycin has the potential to cause hearing loss, especially when given at high doses or in individuals with pre-existing kidney problems. Regular monitoring of kidney function and adjusting the dosage accordingly can help mitigate this risk.
  • Kidney Damage: Vancomycin can be nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidneys), particularly in high doses or when used for an extended duration. Regular monitoring of renal function is important, and dosage adjustments may be necessary in individuals with impaired kidney function.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to vancomycin are possible and can range from mild skin rashes to more severe reactions, including anaphylaxis.
  • Blood Disorders: Vancomycin use has been associated with a decrease in platelet count (thrombocytopenia) and other blood disorders.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience severe or persistent side effects. Additionally, inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing conditions, allergies, or medications you are taking, as these factors can influence the likelihood and severity of side effects.

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, and individual responses to medications can vary. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions, report any concerns promptly, and attend regular check-ups to monitor for potential side effects and ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal of Vancomycin Injection:


  • Storage Conditions: Vancomycin Injection is typically stored in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic, and administered by healthcare professionals. If you are given vancomycin for home use, your healthcare provider will provide specific storage instructions. In general, it is stored at room temperature, away from excessive heat and moisture.
  • Avoid Freezing: Do not freeze the medication.
  • Protection from Light: Some formulations of vancomycin may be light-sensitive, so follow any specific instructions regarding protection from light if provided.


  • Professional Guidance: Vancomycin Injection is administered under the supervision of healthcare professionals in a clinical setting. Any unused or expired medication is typically disposed of by healthcare providers according to institutional protocols.
  • Do Not Self-Dispose: If you are given vancomycin for home use and there is any unused medication, do not attempt to dispose of it on your own. Consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance on proper disposal.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek Medical Attention: In case of an overdose or if you suspect an adverse reaction, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Symptoms of Overdose: Symptoms of a vancomycin overdose may include hearing loss, kidney damage, and severe dizziness. It’s crucial to get medical help if you experience any unusual or severe symptoms.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow Healthcare Provider’s Instructions: Always follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider regarding the dosage, administration, and duration of vancomycin treatment.
  • Inform Healthcare Provider: Provide your healthcare provider with a complete medical history, including any allergies, pre-existing conditions, or medications you are currently taking.
  • Regular Monitoring: If you are on a vancomycin treatment plan, your healthcare provider may conduct regular monitoring, including blood tests, to assess the medication’s effectiveness and check for potential side effects.
  • Follow-up Appointments: Attend all follow-up appointments as scheduled by your healthcare provider.

As with any medication, it’s essential to communicate openly with your healthcare provider, ask questions if you have any concerns, and report any unusual symptoms promptly. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider for guidance specific to your situation.

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