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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Vancomycin (Oral)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Vancocin

In Canada-

  • Vancocin


  • Antibacterial, oral-local


Vancomycin (van-koe-MYE-sin) belongs to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Antibiotics are medicines used in the treatment of infections caused by bacteria.

Vancomycin is taken by mouth to treat a certain type of diarrhea or colitis (an inflammation of the large intestine) caused by a certain type of bacteria. Vancomycin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections. Vancomycin may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Vancomycin is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:

  • Capsules (U.S. and Canada)
  • Oral solution (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For oral vancomycin, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to oral vancomycin. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy- Studies with oral vancomycin have not been done in either humans or animals.

Breast-feeding- Vancomycin passes into breast milk. However, when taken by mouth, only small amounts of vancomycin are absorbed into the mother's body. In addition, vancomycin is not absorbed very much from the digestive tract (stomach and intestines) of the nursing infant and, therefore, is not expected to cause problems in the nursing infant.

Children- Although there is no specific information comparing use of oral vancomycin in children with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of oral vancomycin in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking oral vancomycin, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:

  • Cholestyramine (e.g., Questran) or
  • Colestipol (e.g., Colestid)-Use of these medicines with oral vancomycin may decrease the effects of oral vancomycin; oral vancomycin and these medicines should be taken several hours apart

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of oral vancomycin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Kidney disease, severe, or
  • Other inflammatory bowel disorders-Patients with these medical problems may have an increased chance of side effects

Proper Use of This Medicine

For patients taking the oral liquid form of vancomycin:

  • Use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
  • Do not use after the expiration date on the label. The medicine may not work properly after that date. Check with your pharmacist if you have any questions about this.

To help clear up your colitis completely, keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment , even if you begin to feel better after a few days. If you stop taking this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return. Do not miss any doses .


The dose of oral vancomycin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of oral vancomycin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The number of capsules or teaspoonfuls of solution that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are taking oral vancomycin .

  • For oral dosage forms (capsules, oral solution):
    • For treatment of colitis or severe diarrhea:
      • Adults and teenagers-125 to 500 milligrams (mg) every six hours for seven to ten days.
      • Children-Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by the doctor. The usual dose is 10 mg per kilogram (4.5 mg per pound) of body weight, up to 125 mg. This dose is taken every six hours for seven to ten days.

Missed dose-

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store the capsule form of this medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Store the oral liquid form of vancomycin in the refrigerator because heat will cause this medicine to break down. However, keep the medicine from freezing. Follow the directions on the label.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is important that your doctor check your progress during and after treatment. This is to make sure that the colitis is cleared up completely.

If the symptoms of your colitis do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

If your doctor orders cholestyramine or colestipol for your colitis, do not take vancomycin by mouth within 3 to 4 hours of taking either of these medicines . Doing so may keep vancomycin from working properly.

If you are taking this medicine for diarrhea caused by other antibiotics, do not take any other diarrhea medicine without first checking with your health care professional. Other medicines for diarrhea may make your diarrhea worse or make it last longer.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if the following side effect occurs:

  • Rare
    • Skin rash, hives, scaling or welting of skin, or redness or other discoloration of skin 

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • More common
    • Bitter or unpleasant taste;  mouth irritation ;  nausea or vomiting 

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT