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Vancocin (Vancomycin Hydrochloride) - Description and Clinical Pharmacology


VANCOCIN ® (vancomycin hydrochloride, USP) CAPSULES


VANCOCIN CAPSULES for oral administration contain chromatographically purified vancomycin hydrochloride, a tricyclic glycopeptide antibiotic derived from Amycolatopsis orientalis (formerly Nocardia orientalis), which has the chemical formula C66H75Cl2N9O24•HCl. The molecular weight of vancomycin hydrochloride is 1485.73; 500 mg of the base is equivalent to 0.34 mmol.

The capsules contain vancomycin hydrochloride equivalent to 125 mg (0.08 mmol) or 250 mg (0.17 mmol) vancomycin. The capsules also contain F D & C Blue No. 2, gelatin, iron oxide, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide, and other inactive ingredients.

Vancomycin hydrochloride has the structural formula:


Mechanism of Action

Vancomycin is an antibacterial drug (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Microbiology [ 12.4 ]).


Vancomycin is poorly absorbed after oral administration. During multiple dosing of 250 mg every 8 hours for 7 doses, fecal concentrations of vancomycin in volunteers exceeded 100 mg/kg in the majority of samples. No blood concentrations were detected and urinary recovery did not exceed 0.76%. In anephric subjects with no inflammatory bowel disease who received vancomycin oral solution 2 g for 16 days, blood concentrations of vancomycin were less than or equal to 0.66 μg/mL in 2 of 5 subjects. No measurable blood concentrations were attained in the other 3 subjects. Following doses of 2 g daily, concentrations of drug were >3100 mg/kg in the feces and <1 μg/mL in the serum of subjects with normal renal function who had C. difficile-associated diarrhea. After multiple-dose oral administration of vancomycin, measurable serum concentrations may occur in patients with active C. difficile-associated diarrhea, and, in the presence of renal impairment, the possibility of accumulation exists. It should be noted that the total systemic and renal clearances of vancomycin are reduced in the elderly (see USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS, Geriatric Use [ 8.5 ]).


Mechanism of action

The bactericidal action of vancomycin against Staphylococcus aureus and the vegetative cells of Clostridium difficile results primarily from inhibition of cell-wall biosynthesis. In addition, vancomycin alters bacterial-cell-membrane permeability and RNA synthesis.

Mechanism of resistance

  •   Staphylococcus aureus
  •   S. aureus isolates with vancomycin minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) as high as 1024 mcg/mL have been reported.
  •   The exact mechanism of this resistance is not clear but is believed to be due to cell wall thickening and potentially the transfer of genetic material.
  •   Clostridium difficile
  •   Isolates of C. difficile generally have vancomycin MICs of <1 mcg/mL, however vancomycin MICs ranging from 4 mcg/mL to 16 mcg/mL have been reported. The mechanism which mediates C. difficile's decreased susceptibility to vancomycin has not been fully elucidated.

Vancomycin has been shown to be active against susceptible isolates of the following bacteria in clinical infections as described in the INDICATIONS AND USAGE section.

Gram-positive bacteria

  •   Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant isolates) associated with enterocolitis

Anaerobic Gram-positive bacteria

  •   Clostridium difficile isolates associated with C. difficile associated diarrhea.


Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

No long-term carcinogenesis studies in animals have been conducted.

At concentrations up to 1000 μg/mL, vancomycin had no mutagenic effect in vitro in the mouse lymphoma forward mutation assay or the primary rat hepatocyte unscheduled DNA synthesis assay. The concentrations tested in vitro were above the peak plasma vancomycin concentrations of 20 to 40 μg/mL usually achieved in humans after slow infusion of the maximum recommended dose of 1 g. Vancomycin had no mutagenic effect in vivo in the Chinese hamster sister chromatid exchange assay (400 mg/kg IP) or the mouse micronucleus assay (800 mg/kg IP).

No definitive fertility studies have been conducted.


14.1 Diarrhea Associated with Clostridium difficile

In two trials, VANCOCIN 125 mg orally four times daily for 10 days was evaluated in 266 adult subjects with C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). Enrolled subjects were 18 years of age or older and received no more than 48 hours of treatment with oral VANCOCIN or oral/intravenous metronidazole in the 5 days preceding enrollment. CDAD was defined as ≥3 loose or watery bowel movements within the 24 hours preceding enrollment, and the presence of either C. difficile toxin A or B, or pseudomembranes on endoscopy within the 72 hours preceding enrollment. Subjects with fulminant C. difficile disease, sepsis with hypotension, ileus, peritoneal signs or severe hepatic disease were excluded.

Efficacy analyses were performed on the Full Analysis Set (FAS), which included randomized subjects who received at least one dose of VANCOCIN and had any post-dosing investigator evaluation data (N=259; 134 in Trial 1 and 125 in Trial 2).

The demographic profile and baseline CDAD characteristics of enrolled subjects were similar in the two trials. VANCOCIN-treated subjects had a median age of 67 years, were mainly white (93%), and male (52%). CDAD was classified as severe (defined as 10 or more unformed bowel movements per day or WBC ≥15000/mm3) in 25% of subjects, and 47% were previously treated for CDAD.

Efficacy was assessed by using clinical success, defined as diarrhea resolution and the absence of severe abdominal discomfort due to CDAD, on Day 10. An additional efficacy endpoint was the time to resolution of diarrhea, defined as the beginning of diarrhea resolution that was sustained through the end of the prescribed active treatment period.

The results for clinical success for VANCOCIN-treated subjects in both trials are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Clinical Success Rates (Full Analysis Set)
Clinical Success Rate 95% Confidence Interval
Trial 1 81.3 (134) (74.4, 88.3)
Trial 2 80.8 (125) (73.5, 88.1)

The median time to resolution of diarrhea was 5 days and 4 days in Trial 1 and Trial 2, respectively. For subjects older than 65 years of age, the median time to resolution was 6 days and 4 days in Trial 1 and Trial 2, respectively. In subjects with diarrhea resolution at end-of-treatment with VANCOCIN, recurrence of CDAD during the following four weeks occurred in 25 of 107 (23%) and 18 of 102 (18%) in Trial 1 and Trial 2, respectively.

Restriction Endonuclease Analysis (REA) was used to identify C. difficile baseline isolates in the BI group. In Trial 1, the Vancocin-treated subjects were classified at baseline as follows 31 (23%) with BI strain, 69 (52%) with non-BI strain, and 34 (25%) with unknown strain.  Clinical success rates were 87% for BI strain, 81% for non-BI strain, and 76% for unknown strain.  In subjects with diarrhea resolution at end-of treatment with VANCOCIN, recurrence of CDAD during the following four weeks occurred in 7 of 26 subjects with BI strain, 12 of 56 subjects with non-BI strain, and 6 of 25 subjects with unknown strain.

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