Oral Vancomycin

Update 3/2017 -I have had a few people email me about this asking if it is still accurate since the original post is from 2011 and YES it is!  Prices may be slightly off but still same idea!

A patient called in last week asking about Vancocin capsules.  She had been calling everywhere trying to find them, with no luck!  We discussed how they can be difficult to find and how expensive they will be even if she does find them.  She was happy to hear that there is an alternative that will help her save mucho bucks!

First some background…

Vancomycin is an antibiotic that is most commonly used IV to treat methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus.  However it can also be used orally to treat clostridium difficile (c.diff).

C.diff is an intestinal infection that occurs most often in hospitalized patients after treatment with broadspectrum antibiotics.

Treatments for C.diff  include Flagyl (metronidazole) and oral vancomycin.  Typical dose of oral vancomycin is 125mg four times a day for 10 -14 days.

Cost? Vancocin capsules cost about $1,800 for a 14 day treatment -pricey no?!  That is the cash price but even with insurance the copay is typically wicked high!  Well, good news -there is an alternative.  A  hospital outpatient pharmacy (yes, most hospitals have outpatient pharmacies) can provide the IV vancomycin liquid that can be used orally and is much less expensive because it is available in generic.  How less expensive….about $40 for a 14 day treatment (cash price) -that is a savings of about 1,760 bucks!

I have c.diff -now what? Talk with your physician about the options -Flagyl (metronidazole) is a great option because it works well and is on the $4 list at Walmart and Target.  If your physician decides that oral vancomycin is what is needed, then call your local hospital and ask to speak with the outpatient pharmacy.  Typically, the pharmacy will dispense small syringes filled with clear fluid (vancomycin)…the largest amount should be 15mls (1 tablespoon).  Small warning, it doesn’t taste that great -so you may want a chaser after you take it but it does the job and at a fraction of the cost!

How to make it easy:

1) Ask your physician to write for “IV vancomycin fluid 10mg/ml -12.5ml by mouth four times a day for ____days”

2) Call local hospital and ask if they have an outpatient pharmacy -if so, have script filled there (retail/community pharmacies will most likely not be able to provide).

3) Take medicine as prescribed!  And take a deep sigh of relief that you didn’t have to pay $1,800! 🙂

Have you taken oral vancomycin?  What do you think -please leave a comment!

If you want to use our FREE discount card –CLICK HERE!


  1. Thank you! Thank you! This info was invaluable to my parents as it was going to cost my Dad $1900 for oral vanco. When the hospital case manager called his SS secondary insurance and explained that this Rx was needed to help him in his continual battle with CDiff. They agreed to cut him $800. Still, $1100 is quite a lot to someone on limited income! When the case manager heard what I’d found from your post, she investigated further and found a compounding pharmacy and it cost $125 !!! Wow! What a difference! Thank you SO very much for this post!

  2. PS: The Case Manager thanks you, too! She said she learned something that will prove quite valuable to many others whose paths she crosses in her field of work! She had no idea!

  3. Hi Patty,

    Thank you for leaving this comment! It makes us so happy when we hear that we are helping! And I am SO happy that this worked out for you and your Dad. I am glad that you and the Case Manager will be able to spread the knowledge 🙂

    Take care -and I hope the vanco helps your dad with treating the C.Diff.


    Nova Simpson, Pharm.D.

  4. Hello my name is karrie and my grandmother has clostridium and the only medicine she can take is vancomycin and it was 700$ with her insurance. she is on a fixed income so this was way beyond her budget. After reading this post i did excatly what is says and called the out patient pharmacy and they said they couold do it for 80$!!! wow!!! Thank you so very much! my grandmother can now get the medicine for a fraction of the regular price. Everyone out there please listen to this post it is truly amazing and very insightful. Thank you again for helping my grandmother and i hope people take this seriously because you save hundreds of dollars and get the same thing! thanks!!!!

  5. I just got out of the hospital with c.diff. I took the liquid ever 4 hours. Best chaser is orange juice… And if you have your pharmacy break your Rx down to 20 pills at a time your insurance will cover it. Mine did….hope the info helps

  6. Thank you so much for this information. My father has C-diff, he had emergency surgery and had his colon removed for this 2 yrs ago. The C-diff has returned and is in his small intestine. He was discharged with an RX for Flagyl and Vancomycin capsules which cost $1040, so the DR said just take the flagyl. Now two weeks later he is sick again, not eating, drinking. I found your advice, and let him know. He got the new RX for $27.00!!!!! It disgusts me that the pharmacy or discharging DR did not advocate for him and get him the proper medication. Thank you!!

  7. My Mom has C-diff for the third time, Vancomyacin is so Godly exspensive!! If the Hospital does not have an outpatient pharmacy then what do you suggest?
    She had it filled with a compound pharmacy and try charged her $400.00 but that’s soo spendy!! My mom is disabled and on a fixed income. Please help! We live in MN.
    This Vancomyacin is the liquid form and she takes it 4x a day, but still the exspense is ridiculous!!

  8. Hi Ericka,
    The compounding pharmacy has saved you some money but $400 is still absurdly expensive! I would recommend asking someone at the hospital about what hospital in your area has an outpatient pharmacy. You can even call the main phone number, ask to speak with the “inpatient pharmacy” when you are transferred to them, ask which hospital has an outpatient pharmacy -they usually will know. If the outpatient pharmacy seems too far, I would call anyway and request them to mail the medicine to you!

    Good luck and I hope your mom gets well quickly!

    Nova Simpson, Pharm.D.

  9. Thanks im taking vancomycin right now in the hospital and thats what I will be 4aking when I leave ! This was very helpful!

  10. Very valuable info- helped me get the ball rolling to get my sister’s prescription. Patients who do not have insurance are discharged from the hospital with scrips for extremely expensive meds and they are at a serious disadvantage: they may have very little experience in accessing services. Being ill and being told your prescriptions will cost thousands of dollars is not only very frightening, it is demoralizing. I spoke with many people today with the best of intentions and a genuine desire to help my sister; but it was the concrete information I found on your site that got the process started. Thank you so very much!

  11. I had c-diff for 15 months during 2010-2011. During this time it recurred once.
    My Ins. pd $2500 -$5000 per month..I pd. a co-pay of $75.00 per mo. I now have c-diff again and a diff. ins. They are fighting this and my doctor is now prescribing it (in IV form) through a CVS pharmacy for $188.00 per mo and my co-pay being $58.00. This pharmacy is in Cypress, Ca. I live in Long Beach, Ca.

    Please respond and let me know how it’s going since this last post.

    Gratefully, Cathy Grimes

  12. If he is told to take this meds and can’t get it because of price what will happen to a person can anyone help me….

  13. It’s insane that the pharmaceutical companies can dictate who shall live and who shall die…The pill cost is outrageous and the liquid alternative is unknown by most doctors. It will take one high profile death to right this wrong!Thank G-d for the internet!

  14. I know the original post is old, but it is still valid. My sister had already been given two runs of Flagyl, and still had cdiff. Doctor prescribed pill form vancomycin, which was over $1000. I found this post, and after some phone calls, we got liquid for $93. She has no money and no insurance, so this was quite literally a lifesaving piece of information. We are so grateful!

  15. I was not surprised to see a post on Vanco solution. However I was at the date. This is nothing new, nursing homes have used it for years. The long term care pharmacy I started working at in 2001 made this. A lot of it. I can’t even remember how many times I made it myself. Simple and quick to mix, not to mention really inexpensive compared to capsules which are ridiculous BTW. They are just a hardened capsule shell with a little pill inside. You can actually hear it in there if you shake one. More doctors know about Vanvo solution than peoplIe might think, and a good pharmacist should recommend it (and where to get it made) if your insurance won’t cover it. It’s sad that all these years later, people still aren’t getting proper antibiotic treatment because doctors and pharmacists aren’t volunteering this information.

  16. This is my 7th bout with c-diff. Was in the hospital 4 days on September with mega colon, oral Vanco and Flagyl while inpatient, sent home with Flagyl and Cipro.

    Just got home Tuesday after a 5 day stay in hospital positive Cdiff Vanco anf Flagyl in the hospital. Sent home with Flagyl and script for Vanco. Insurance wanted prior Authorization. Worked with case manager, who said everything is set. Still no Vanco. Tired if being sick all the time, 4 kids at home, granted I can’t do much from the couch. The hospital I worked at is now doing bowel transplants, have an appointment with them on January.

  17. The liquid Vanco from the hospital outpatient pharmacy was going to cost me over $1,000 but my insurance DOES pay for the oral capsules. Everyone – check to see if your’s does because my co-pay was only $10 for the capsules.

  18. We had to fight the insurance company for three compound but weekend they realized it was cheaper the pharmacist talked them into it! I cant tale pills so this is a great solution for me. There is also a new solution it now called first vancomycin and it comes at cvs already ready for compounding and is easy for them

  19. Hi everyone. This is my second battle with C Diff, and I’m super worried. When I went on Flagyl for the first round, I was SO sick. So this time my doctor called in Vanco pills, and I’m hoping I won’t get as sick. I think one of the worst parts of the flagyl was the taste. Is Vanco as bad? I’m expecting to be sick to my stomach and stuff already, just wanting to hear from others with experience. Thanks.

  20. I must have some awesome insurance that I pay for through my employer. I got 112 oral vancomycin capsules for $5 copay

  21. I just got my 14 day supply of capsules for 10.00 I was sad to see the length of time the infection can last 😩

  22. Can oral vancomycin capsules be crushed? I have a 2yr old with CDiff she took flagyl and got better but 1 week after being off flagyl it’s come back. Ped called in vancomycin at a tapered dosing regimen for a month. Told me to open capsules and sprinkle in applesauce, however it doesn’t sprinkle it’s a hard glob of medicine inside the capsule. And I’m sure the insurance company is not going to want to pay for a duplicate fill of the liquid after they already paid for 64 capsules. Any advice?

  23. I am being treated for recurrent C. diff after taking oral generic Vancomycin hydrochloride 125 mg for 10 days. I have been treated with 14 days of oral Vanco and now a tapering dose (1 week of 3 times a day, 1 week of 2 times a day and 1 week of 1 time a day). I have primary MC, secondary AARP and an AARP pharmacy plan and have paid over $1000.00 in out of pocket expenses. I do not understand how a generic drug can cost so much.

  24. I went in to get a 30 day script for 125mg Vanco and the pharmacy asked me for $2000. I had read this article and expected it, but my jaw still dropped. Luckily my local pharmacy had the liquid and my pharmacist prepared it instead for just $47 (it will require a refill as only 14 day supply can be prepared at once, so total cost will be $94). I have no insurance so all the info here was really accurate and prepared me for this. Great info, so thank you and I will make sure to pass this on to anyone else I know or meet suffering from C Diff.

  25. I have had quite a run with c-diff…On and off for 21 months to be exact. I have done it all, Flagyl, Vancomycin, and a fecal transplant. Thankfully my pharmacist was aware of this compounding information so like many reviews on here, I too was able to get the meds much cheaper. This was huge given that I was put on a 7 week pulse dosing schedule. I can’t imagine paying full price for 7 weeks!!

    One thing that makes me SO sad is that my pharmacist said that compound Vancomycin is only FULLY effective for seven days or less. In other words, if you pay for and pick up the entire 14 days worth of Vancomycin, by day #8, it is not the same strength that you bought on day one. It will lose its efficacy and break down over a weeks time. Granted, it is still somewhat effective, but let’s be honest-when you are literally dying from c-diff who wants to take only 70-80℅ strength medicine?! No thanks.

    Do not buy 14 days at a time!!! People are literally paying an arm and a leg to get 2 weeks worth of medicine that is essentially half the original strength within a week. It is literally sitting in your refrigerator breaking down.

    My pharmacist will make a small batch for me at a time. Yours will too…Just ask! My doctor will send over a 2 week supply, but rather than getting the full 14 days at a time, I just request the pharmacist- NOT the doctor- for 5 days worth. My doctor is clueless to this. Just don’t bother asking them. Trust me, handle it with the pharmacist, who went to pharmacy school and actually studied medicine. Explain to the pharmacist that you only want 5 days initially and are going to come back and get 5 days more the next week, and then 4 more days after that (5 days +5 days +4 days =14 days) so it is good and fresh. They will bill your insurance for 14 total days, you just don’t pick it all up at once. They have never questioned me and are glad to do this. Actually, it was their idea! He told me the last time I got Vancomycin filled, “You will never leave my pharmacy with more than FIVE days worth of Vancomycin! It will break down at day 7 and I am not charging you full price for half strength.” He doesn’t trust the medicine will still be good after a week and neither do I!

    Good luck! Hope this helps!!

  26. I’m an 80 yr. old woman and I got c-diff. last Oct. from taking 17 days of anti- biotics , being treated for a hematoma on my foot. I frist took liquid vanco. 125 mg’s for 10 days [4times daily] . After a few days of finishing my meds I again tested positive for c-diff. My 2nd course of liquid vanco was 250 mgs. for 10 days. After a few days of finishing that course of meds I tested positive for the 3rd time with c-diff. I then was given 10 days of deficid. After 10 days of finishing that course of meds. I have again [for the 4th time] tested positive for c-diff. I’m now on 125 mgs. of vanco caps for a staggering 6 week course of that! Maybe will have to take the “poop pills” as my next course of treatment. I wish I had known what anti- biotics could do. People, be sure you need to take them, Dr’s hard them out much to often! I’m now eating a lot of fermented foods to help establish the good flora in my gut and taking a lot of pro- biotics.

  27. I’ve been on oral vanco and recently received it from new pharmacy and it looks and taste worse. Why?

  28. Hi Carolyn, I am not sure why it would taste different. Typically the solution is either compounded from the IV vanco OR the stock solution (Vancocin). It is best to contact the pharmacy and ask what they are using and if it can be compounded differently. When the IV vanco is compounded, some pharmacies add some sweetness and flavor but others just leave it in its natural (yucky) flavor!

    Hope this helps!

  29. I believe a good probiotic can get rid of c. diffile in 2days. I had a suspected c diff infection due to amoxicillin use. I got superacidophylus probiotics from Trader Joe and was cured overnight. I continued taking it for about 5 days as precaution.

  30. I almost died of c-diff in 2015. I was in toxic shock when I was taken to the hospital. I think I was susceptible due to just having finished chemotherapy a few weeks before. I have to doubt Haresh’s comment that probiotics cured it overnight…. Sorry, Haresh. Anyway, Haley’s info about buying it in partial batches is fantastic! I’m lucky that after the first round with it refrigerated it still worked when I had one relapse. Coincidentally, just today I was starting to search for the best way to dispose of the remainder, and ran into this site. Yes, it tastes nasty–in the hospital they gave me a spoon of pudding to follow it, but there’s no getting around it. And finally, I was also searching to see how much it costs–wow! I’m so sorry for those who have had to pay so much for it. Thanks to Obamacare it was totally covered by my insurance company, since I had already met the low out-of-pocket cost with my surgery ($2550).

  31. My Doctor prescribed Vaco for me a month ago. Pharmacy called and told me the cost would be $386.00 with my insurance. Sorry I can not afford that. My daughter which is a NPR found your site for me. Called my doctor and ask him to write a prescription as you stated. Took it to a hospital outpatient pharmacy at a hospital which they filled. Cost $144.00 without insurance, but $24.60 with insurance. So grateful for your advice. By the way, they put some cherry favoring in it, and not bad at all.

  32. Hi Karen, I am so glad we were able to help you save some serious cash! 🙂 Thank you for leaving a comment and I hope you are feeling very well soon! And thanks for the flavoring info -must help quite a bit!

    Take care,

    Nova Simpson,PharmD

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