Heres a very good question that I recieved about Vancomycin (AKA Mississippi Mud) from Ingrid. I actually had this question a few months ago.
So here’s my question: Can IV vancomycin be given orally? Once upon a time a couple of jobs ago, maybe 15 years ago I worked on a peri-op floor of a fairly small hospital. We all know that PO vanco is really expensive and IV vanco is pretty cheap. The pharmacist at our hospital told us that it was perfectly okay, and it was cheaper for the patient (and probably the hospital if we got stuck with reimbursement stuff, I’m thinking). We would draw up whatever the dose, squirt it into a med cup, and the patient would drink it.
Actually, I had this same question about 9 months ago. I actually called up my old coworker at the hospital that I used to work at and asked him. Yes, you can. Vanco is vanco and the capsules aren’t anything special or extended release. Considering that Vancocin Caps are kilo-bucks and Vancomycin IV is dirty cheap, its a good way to save the patient a whole lot of money if they are competent enough to reconstitute and administer it.
NO ONE I have ever worked with since has ever heard of such a thing. MDs don’t believe me, and I don’t know whether or not to believe them. I’m asking because 1. it’s interesting, whether it’s true or not, for lots of reasons, which I’m sure you get.
2. my dad has mrsa (wound) and has been taking some pretty expensive p.o. alternatives at home (&%### medicare D and its wonderful “donut hole”).
Oral Vanco isn’t bioavailable. Meaning that if you take vanco caps, all it will do is just kill everything in the gut and not get absorbed into the rest of the body. Thats a /very/ common mistake that doctors make is they have the patient on IV vanco, then send them home with caps and wonder why its not working. Vancomycin is not like Levaquin or any other IV/Oral antibiotic. Like Neomycin (though Neomycin isn’t given IV anymore. Well, not if the doctor likes your kidneys), the physical molecule is too large for the body to absorb, so its really just GI topical. If he’s taking oral Vancocin for a MRSA wound, then you’re just wasting money and your doctor is a fucking idiot. Oral Vanco is only indicated for C. Diff pseudomembraneous colitis after failure of Flagyl.
People tend to freak out when the word MRSA is thrown around, however when the doctors get off of their butt and do a C&S report, they find that sometimes its not resistant to some really common antibiotics like clindamycin, doxy/tetracycline, or cipro.
But to answer your question, no, there is not any difference between oral/IV chemically. There is a difference between absorption on oral vs IV, and the biggest problem is having the patient be competent enough to reconstitute the proper IV dose to give it to themselves orally.
Wow, I actually impressed myself with how smart I sound.. 🙂 Pretty good for a retail chump.