Vancomycin: How to Use, Side Effects, Precautions and Interactions

It is used to treat certain intestinal conditions (colitis) that can rarely occur after treatment with antibiotics.

This condition causes diarrhea and discomfort or stomach / abdominal pain. When Vancomycin is taken orally, it stays in the intestines to stop the growth of bacteria that cause these symptoms.

This antibiotic only treats bacterial infections in the intestines. It will not work for bacterial infections in any other part of the body or viral infections (such as the common cold or flu). Using any antibiotic when not needed can make it not work for future conditions.

How to use Vancomycin

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually every 6 to 8 hours. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight.

If you take certain cholesterol medications that bind to bile acids (such as cholestyramine and colestipol), take them at least 3 to 4 hours after taking Vancomycin. Taking them together will make Vancomycin work worse. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.

To get the best effect, take this antibiotic at regular intervals. To help you remember, take this medicine simultaneously every day.

Continue taking this medication until the prescribed amount is completed, even if the symptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too soon may cause the infection to reappear.


Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

Side effects

It may cause nausea or an upset stomach. Tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly if any of these effects last or worsen.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because they have judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if you have any severe side effects, including dizziness, hearing problems (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), easy bruising/bleeding, or signs of kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine).

A severe allergic reaction to this medication is rare. However, seek medical attention immediately if you notice any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, which include: rash, itching/swelling (especially on the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice other effects not mentioned above.

Precautions with Vancomycin

Before taking Vancomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Consult your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially: kidney disease, hearing problems, and another stomach / intestinal problems.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal products).

Older adults may be at increased risk for kidney problems or hearing loss while using this medication.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when necessary. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is not known if this form of Vancomycin passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.


Interactions with other medications can change how your pills work or increase the risk of severe side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions.

Keep a list of all the products you use (including over-the-counter and non-prescription medicines and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s approval.

Although most antibiotics are unlikely to affect hormonal birth control, such as the pills, patches, or ring, some antibiotics (such as rifampicin and rifabutin) may decrease their effectiveness.

This could result in pregnancy. If you use hormonal contraceptives, ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.