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AIDSinfo Drug Database

AIDSinfo Drug Database

Drugs by class



Vancomycin Hydrochloride  Audio icon

Other Names: Vancocin, vancomycin HCl
Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections

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Vancomycin hydrochloride
Vancomycin hydrochloride

What is vancomycin hydrochloride?

Vancomycin hydrochloride is an antibacterial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention and treatment of infections caused by Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus. Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that cause opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as those infected with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. 

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA-HIVMA), include recommendations on the HIV-related uses of vancomycin hydrochloride to:

  • Treat:
    • Clostridium difficile infection.
    • Staphylococcus aureus Pneumonia.

 The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of vancomycin hydrochloride recommended in the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.


What should I tell my health care provider before taking vancomycin hydrochloride?

Before taking 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, for example, diabetes or liver problems. 
  • 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 your use of intravenous medicines.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether vancomycin hydrochloride can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Vancomycin hydrochloride should only be given to a pregnant woman if clearly needed. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking vancomycin hydrochloride when pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you are infected with HIV.
  • 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. 

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from vancomycin hydrochloride. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.


How should I take vancomycin hydrochloride?

Take vancomycin hydrochloride according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much vancomycin hydrochloride to take and when to take 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 at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°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.
  • Do not use vancomycin hydrochloride if the original seal over the bottle 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?

More information about vancomycin hydrochloride is available:


The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Capsule; Injection (solution).

Last Reviewed: October 22, 2015

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