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Vancomycin is used for the treatment of an intestinal condition referred to as Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. This condition occurs after a patient has used another antibiotic that has led to the growth of resistant bacteria in the intestines, which leads to diarrhea. Vancomycin only remains in the intestines and does not get absorbed by the body. This ensures that Vancomycin only treats bacterial infections of the intestines and cannot work for other viral or bacterial infections. Vancomycin works by preventing cell wall formation by the bacteria, hence killing or preventing the growth of the bacteria. Molecules referred to as peptidoglycans reinforce this wall. Vancomycin works by preventing the formation of peptidoglycans.
- Intestinal Conditions
- Clostridium Difficile
Patients should take Vancomycin for the full-prescribed time. The symptoms can improve before the infection has cleared. Therefore, patients should continue taking Vancomycin even after symptoms improve. Skipping doses can increase a patient's risk of further infections that are resistant to bacteria. Vancomycin is an antibiotic that only works best if the amount in the intestine is kept at a constant level. Therefore, patients should take Vancomycin at evenly spaced intervals.
- Vancomycin is taken by mouth, normally four times daily for 7-10 days or as instructed by a medical professional.
- The dosage depends on a patient's response to treatment and the medical status.
Vancomycin Side Effects
Vancomycin can cause some side effects, and patients need to monitor side effects that worsen or become persistent. Note, not all side effects have been listed below. Common Vancomycin side effects
- Stomach pain
- Back pain
- Muscle tightness
Serious Vancomycin side effects
- Hearing loss, ringing in the ears
- Increased diarrhea that is bloody or watery
- Low potassium, This is characterized by uneven heart rate, increased urination, muscle weakness or limp feeling, leg discomfort, confusion, extreme thirst
- Change in the amount of urine
- A very serious allergic reaction
- Persistent diarrhea
- Severe skin reaction
- Severe stomach pain
- Skin rash, severe tingling, pain, numbness, redness, bruising
- Feeling light-headed, fainting
Drug interactions can change how Vancomycin works or increase a patient's risk for serious side effects. Therefore, patients are required to inform their doctors about all the medications in use. Some products that can interact with Vancomycin include:
- Amphotericin B
- Live bacterial vaccines
- Aminoglycosides (for example, neomycin, gentamicin)
- Other antibiotics
Some antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control such as pills. Patients should ask their doctor if they could use additional birth control methods while using Vancomycin because of a higher probability of pregnancy.