Vancocin & C Difficile – 4 Key Facts

Vancocin is a trade name for vancomycin, a drug of last resort for many conditions including c. difficile and MRSA.

When is Vancocin prescribed?

In c. difficile cases it is often given after Flagyl has failed. It will usually be given to people suffering moderate to severe cases of infection.


How does Vancocin work?

It works by interfering with the bacteria cell wall mechanism and thereby halting it’s reproduction. It is given via mouth rather than the normal intravenous method used for other conditions. This help deliver the drug straight to the target area in the intestine rather than needing to disperse it via the bloodstream.

It is has a major new competitor – Fidaxomicin – which kills the c diff bacteria rather than just suppressing it. Vancomycin is considerably cheaper however. There are concerns that vancocin stops the c difficile in the short term but leaves the patient more vulnerable to future attacks because of the negative impact of the drug on other key positive gut bacteria.

What dosage is used?

The suggested dose is 125 mg, administered orally, 4 times daily for 10 days. There is a study on whether a Flaygl/Vancocin combination delivers a better outcome for the patient with less long term weakness in the gut bacteria. Other treatment approaches include the combination of a fecal transplant (FMT) with vancocin – this is an interesting approach as many believe that the  FMT is enough to cure 90 – 97% of sufferers.

What about side effects?

While there are concerns about the long term impact of vancocin on the gut bacteria, other side effects in other parts of the body are rare except in relation to prolonged courses of treatment.  You can find out more about these at the vancomycin page at Wikipedia and this page at Drugs.com. Wikipedia notes that these include:

Local pain, which may be severe, and thrombophlebitis.  Later trials using purer forms of vancomycin found nephrotoxicity is an infrequent adverse effect (0.1–1% of patients), but this is accentuated in the presence of aminoglycosides.[12]

Rare adverse effects (<0.1% of patients) include: anaphylaxis, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, red man syndrome, superinfection, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, leukopenia, tinnitus, and dizziness and/or ototoxicity


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19 thoughts on “Vancocin & C Difficile – 4 Key Facts

  1. Marjorie Okie I can't believe I can ever be well again.

    I took 2 14 day 4 pills daily Flagyl and now 2 14 day Vancomycin and continued always with the c difficile since July. Now I am told I will need a fecal transplant probably. And will it come back?

    1. Jan Murray

      I also went through 14 days on Flagyl, then 10 days on Rifaxamin, then 10 days on 250 mg. Vancomycin 4x daily (around the clock). I still had C. Diff. I went to see an Infectious Disease Specialist (see my earlier comment above) and am now on Vancomycin 3x daily (none at night) until all SYMPTOMS are gone and stools look normal for me; then I’m to be on Vanco 3 days a week, stop for four days a week, and repeat that pattern for 6-8 weeks. Only then, if C. Diff is not gone, will I need fecal transplant. See an Infectious Disease Specialist for recurring C. Diff!!!
      Jan

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