MRSA is treatable with antibiotics, but there are only a few antibiotics that are used effective for treatment, vancomycin is one of them. It is used to treat CA-MRSA (community acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Groups that are susceptible to CA-MRSA include athletes, prisoners, nursing home residents, day care attendees, and others where large populations come in contact with common surfaces, like fitness equipment or medical equipment.
Employees in the above facilities are also at risk. There have been some cases of VRSA (vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, so it is saved for advanced infections.
Only a healthcare professional can prescribe vancomycin for the treatment of MRSA. Careful monitoring will be necessary because of the side effects. For maximum effectiveness and minimal risk of side effects, this antibiotic should be taken exactly as prescribed. It is most effective when taken at regular intervals and administered slowly, which is why it is administered intravenously. Another reason is because it doesn’t cross the intestinal lining. A PICC is usually necessary to avoid burning of the tissue at the IV site.
Vancomycin was first isolated in 1953 by Edmond Kornfeld, and is part of a group of antibiotics known as glycopeptide antibiotics. It is also known by the brand names of Vancocin HCl and Vancocin. When used to treat intestinal infection, it is administered orally. In the case of respiratory infection it may be administered through an inhaler. In addition being used for the treatment of MRSA, it is also used to treat the following:
- Pseudomembranous colitis
- Infections caused by gram-positive
- Antibacterial prophylaxis for endocarditis
- Surgical prophylaxis for major procedures
Vancomycin use has been restricted due to resistant bacteria strains emerging so doctors will not use it for infections that are diagnosed early and respond to other antibiotics.
One of the most serious side effects of vancomycin treatment is temporary or permanent hearing loss. Other side effects include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Aches and pains
More serious side effects include the following:
- Ringing in ears
- Minimal or no urination
- Flu like symptoms
- Light headedness
- Skin problems
- Severe stomach pain
Communication with a healthcare professional is necessary to monitor and manage side effects of taking this antibiotic.
Depending on the type of strain that a person is infected with, other MRSA antibiotics may be used instead of vancomycin. Surgery may be used to treat this bacterium. Since it is so difficult to treat a this staph infection it is recommended that you keep you immune system strong and prevent an infection by using precautions when sharing workout equipment, medical equipment, or other surfaces. Be sure healthcare professionals wash their hands before treating you to prevent an infection.
Vancomycin use is becoming limited and restricted due to resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus developing, so it is often only used when there are no other options for MRSA treatment or for advanced infections.