Generic Name: Vancomycin
Indications: Antibiotic prescribed to treat potentially serious bacterial infections, particularly infections of the bowel.
FDA Drug Category: B and C
Summary Recommendations: Vancomycin is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy when no other drug provides the same benefits. There are two forms of the drug, capsule and oral solution. Capsules have been placed in the FDA pregnancy category B and oral solution in the FDA pregnancy category C. Harm to the fetus was not observed during animal testing of amounts exceeding recommended human doses.
General Precautions: Vancomycin may be contraindicated in patients with difficulty hearing, kidney disease or certain bowel diseases, especially those that are inflammatory in nature. The drug is also associated with temporary and permanent hearing loss. If the patient experiences ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing or total hearing loss while taking vancomycin the side effect should be reported to the prescribing physician immediately.
Patients are advised to take the full dose of the antibiotic. Symptoms of the bacterial infection may disappear before treatment is complete. This does not mean the bacterial infection is cured. Only the full dose of antibiotic can completely clear up the infection. Stopping treatment early may cause rebound infection that may not respond as well to treatment.
Effects While Trying to Conceive: There are no known effects of vancomycin on fertility, but no conclusive testing has been completed.
Effects on Pregnancy: Extensive animal testing has been completed on the potential effects of vancomycin on pregnancy with no definitive results. At least one controlled study of the human population has been conducted on intravenous (IV) vancomycin with no negative side effects. The study involved pregnant women with staph infections. The women were treated with the IV form of vancomycin. There were no reports of hearing loss or other side effect. Despite the lack of clinical evidence of fetal or pregnancy risk, doctors are still cautioned to use the drug only when no other antibiotics will work effectively.
Safe During Breastfeeding: IV vancomycin is excreted in milk during breastfeeding, but there is no indication of any side effects on the infant or nursing toddler. Clinical testing proves only a small amount of the drug passes to the infant – less than the dose prescribed for colitis in infants. However, the amount in milk was measured during the third trimester. The amount passed during breastfeeding could vary.