What is vancomycin hydrochloride?
Vancomycin hydrochloride is an antibacterial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain bacterial infections, such as infections caused by Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus.
Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that can cause opportunistic infections (OIs) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.
How is vancomycin hydrochloride used in people with HIV?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV include recommendations on the uses of vancomycin hydrochloride to treat bacterial enteric infection caused by Clostridium difficile and community-acquired pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus.
The recommended uses may not always be consistent with FDA-approved uses of vancomycin hydrochloride. See the Adult and Pediatric Opportunistic Infection Guidelines for complete information on recommended uses of vancomycin hydrochloride in adults and children with HIV. Vancomycin hydrochloride may have other recommended uses not listed above.
What should I tell my health care provider before using vancomycin hydrochloride?
Before using vancomycin hydrochloride, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to vancomycin hydrochloride or any other medicines.
- About any medical conditions you have or have had, including:
- Kidney problems
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease
- Hearing problems
- Heart problems, such as congestive heart failure
- If you have any health conditions that require following a low sodium diet.
- About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing pills, difficulty remembering to take pills, or any health conditions that may prevent you from receiving medicine by intravenous infusion.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of using vancomycin hydrochloride during pregnancy. The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV may include other recommendations on the use of vancomycin during pregnancy. Please refer to these guidelines for additional information.
- If you are breast/chestfeeding or plan to breast/chestfeed. For people with HIV in the United States, the Guideline recommends speaking with your health care provider to discuss options for feeding your baby. People with suppressed viral load have a less than 1% chance of transmitting HIV to their baby via their own milk.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Vancomycin hydrochloride may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how vancomycin hydrochloride works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between vancomycin hydrochloride and the other medicines you take.
How should I use vancomycin hydrochloride?
Use vancomycin hydrochloride according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much vancomycin hydrochloride to use and when to use it. Before you start vancomycin hydrochloride and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How should vancomycin hydrochloride be stored?
- Store vancomycin hydrochloride capsules between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
- Store vancomycin hydrochloride injection at or below -4°F (-20°C). See the vancomycin hydrochloride injection label for instructions on how to thaw the containers before use.
- Keep vancomycin hydrochloride in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
- Do not use vancomycin hydrochloride if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
- Throw away vancomycin hydrochloride that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep vancomycin hydrochloride and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about vancomycin hydrochloride?
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of vancomycin hydrochloride, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Children with and Exposed to HIV.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Capsule; Injection (solution).
- The American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Patient Medication Information for vancomycin and vancomycin injection available from MedlinePlus.
- Vancomycin hydrochloride-related research studies, from ClinicalTrials.gov. (The ClinicalTrials.gov search can be modified so that you can get results that better match your interests. To learn more about the ClinicalTrials.gov search features, please see How to Search.)
Last Reviewed: October 27, 2021