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What is Telavancin?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Telavancin is an antibiotic medication effective against organisms like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A doctor may recommend administering this drug in a hospital setting if a patient has a hospital-acquired bacterial infection or comes into the hospital with a resistant infection. Pharmaceutical companies produce it in the form of an injectable medication and a nurse or doctor must administer it slowly in an infusion to reduce the risk of side effects.

The most common reason to prescribe telavancin is to treat an infection of the skin or underlying tissue with MRSA. Such infections can be very aggressive and hard to treat, as they may not respond to common antibiotics. Patients in the hospital are already vulnerable because their immune systems are depressed and they are less able to fight off infections. If they acquire an infection, it can quickly become very serious.

The telavancin is available for injection through an intravenous line or catheter and starts acting very quickly. Patients can experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes. Any reaction around the injection site can be a warning of drug allergy, including swelling, redness, and itching. Providing the drug in a hospital environment allows people to identify bad reactions and provide the appropriate treatment. In cases where a patient needs telavancin at home, a nurse often travels to the home to provide care and administer drugs, and may monitor patients before leaving the home to see if there are any problems.

This drug works by interrupting the process of cell wall synthesis in bacteria. Without cell walls, bacteria cannot survive, and start to die off. The length of treatment depends on how well the patient responds and the severity of the infection. A doctor may request testing after the telavancin therapy should be over to confirm that the bacteria are truly gone. Patients can still experience lingering pain, soreness, and redness as a result of inflammation.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use telavancin, as the medication can cause birth defects and other problems. If a patient is pregnant, a doctor can prescribe a more appropriate medication or discuss options; in some cases, the risks of not medicating may be higher than those associated with using the medication. Patients who become pregnant while on telavancin should discuss the matter with an obstetrician to get advice on whether they need to take any special steps to safeguard the health of the pregnancy.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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