6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of vancomycin hydrochloride. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Ototoxicity : Cases of hearing loss associated with intravenously administered vancomycin have been reported. Most of these patients had kidney dysfunction or a preexisting hearing loss or were receiving concomitant treatment with an ototoxic drug [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Ototoxicity ( 5.4 )]. Vertigo, dizziness, and tinnitus have been reported.

Hematopoietic : Reversible neutropenia, usually starting 1 week or more after onset of intravenous therapy with vancomycin or after a total dose of more than 25 g, has been reported for several dozen patients. Neutropenia appears to be promptly reversible when vancomycin is discontinued. Thrombocytopenia has been reported.

Miscellaneous : Patients have been reported to have had anaphylaxis, drug fever, chills, nausea, eosinophilia, rashes (including exfoliative dermatitis), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and rare cases of vasculitis in association with the administration of vancomycin.

A condition has been reported that is similar to the IV–induced syndrome with symptoms consistent with anaphylactoid reactions, including hypotension, wheezing, dyspnea, urticaria, pruritus, flushing of the upper body (“Red Man Syndrome”), pain and muscle spasm of the chest and back. These reactions usually resolve within 20 minutes but may persist for several hours.


No drug interaction studies have been conducted.


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category B – The highest doses of vancomycin tested were not teratogenic in rats given up to 200 mg/kg/day IV (1180 mg/m 2 or 1 times the recommended maximum human dose based on body surface area) or in rabbits given up to 120 mg/kg/day IV (1320 mg/m 2 or 1.1 times the recommended maximum human dose based body surface area). No effects on fetal weight or development were seen in rats at the highest dose tested or in rabbits given 80 mg/kg/day (880 mg/m 2 or 0.74 times the recommended maximum human dose based on body surface area).

In a controlled clinical study, the potential ototoxic and nephrotoxic effects of vancomycin on infants were evaluated when the drug was administered intravenously to pregnant women for serious staphylococcal infections complicating intravenous drug abuse. Vancomycin was found in cord blood. No sensorineural hearing loss or nephrotoxicity attributable to vancomycin was noted. One infant whose mother received vancomycin in the third trimester experienced conductive hearing loss that was not attributed to the administration of vancomycin. Because the number of subjects treated in this study was limited and vancomycin was administered only in the second and third trimesters, it is not known whether vancomycin causes fetal harm. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, vancomycin hydrochloride capsules should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

Vancomycin is excreted in human milk based on information obtained with the intravenous administration of vancomycin. However, systemic absorption of vancomycin is very low following oral administration of vancomycin hydrochloride capsules [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacokinetics ( 12.3 )] . It is not known whether vancomycin is excreted in human milk, as no studies of vancomycin concentration in human milk after oral administration have been done. Caution should be exercised when vancomycin hydrochloride capsules is administered to a nursing woman. Because of the potential for adverse events, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

8.5 Geriatric Use

In clinical trials, 54% of vancomycin hydrochloride-treated subjects were >65 years of age. Of these, 40% were between the ages of >65 and 75, and 60% were >75 years of age.

Clinical studies with vancomycin hydrochloride in diarrhea associated with Clostridium difficile have demonstrated that geriatric subjects are at increased risk of developing nephrotoxicity following treatment with oral vancomycin hydrochloride, which may occur during or after completion of therapy. In patients >65 years of age, including those with normal renal function prior to treatment, renal function should be monitored during and following treatment with vancomycin hydrochloride to detect potential vancomycin induced nephrotoxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Nephrotoxicity ( 5.3 ); ADVERSE REACTIONS, Clinical Trial Experience ( 6.1 ) and CLINICAL STUDIES, Diarrhea Associated with Clostridium difficile ( 14.1 )] .

Patients >65 years of age may take longer to respond to therapy compared to patients ≤65 years of age [see CLINICAL STUDIES, Diarrhea Associated with Clostridium difficile ( 14.1 )]. Clinicians should be aware of the importance of appropriate duration of vancomycin hydrochloride treatment in patients >65 years of age and not discontinue or switch to alternative treatment prematurely.


Supportive care is advised, with maintenance of glomerular filtration. Vancomycin is poorly removed by dialysis. Hemofiltration and hemoperfusion with polysulfone resin have been reported to result in increased vancomycin clearance.

To obtain up-to-date information about the treatment of overdose, a good resource is your certified Regional Poison Control Center. Telephone numbers of certified poison control centers are listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR). In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug overdoses, interaction among drugs, and unusual drug kinetics.

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