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What is vancomycin

Vancomycin (also called Vancocin®) is used to treat infections. Vancomycin is available as a clear liquid given by vein (IV). It is also available as a 125-mg and 250-mg capsule and a 50-mg/ml oral liquid. Both are taken by mouth.

Possible side effects of vancomycin

  • Decreased kidney function
  • Need to urinate less often than usual
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Hearing a ringing noise
  • Loss of hearing
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Trouble standing
  • Upper body looks flushed, “Red Man Syndrome” (with IV form)
  • Allergic reaction with these symptoms: rash, hives, itching, chills, fever, short of breath, muscle aches, swelling of the face or neck, headache, tight feeling in throat, or coughing

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833).

Special instructions for vancomycin

  • If you have “Red Man Syndrome” while you are receiving IV vancomycin, the staff will slow down the rate that vancomycin is given into the vein. Also, you may receive medicine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) before receiving vancomycin.
  • If you have decreased kidney function, tell your doctor before you receive IV vancomycin.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you are urinating less often than usual while receiving IV vancomycin.
  • If you are an outpatient receiving IV vancomycin through a portable pump (such as an Eclipse device or CADD pump) follow these guidelines:
    • Finish all doses of vancomycin as instructed by your doctor, even if you think your condition has improved.
    • Store vancomycin in the refrigerator or on ice.
    • Place one (1) dose of vancomycin at room temperature about one (1) hour before taking the dose.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any allergic symptoms (listed above) or severe or watery diarrhea while you are receiving vancomycin.
  • Refrigerate the liquid vancomycin taken by mouth. Discard the medicine when the date on the label expires.
  • Vancomycin capsules should be stored at room temperature in a dry place.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).