We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Connection between Vancomycin and Redman Syndrome?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Vancomycin is an antibiotic that kills a variety of bacterial pathogens. A possible side effect of the drug is a collection of symptoms called Redman syndrome, due to the redness and rash that typically occurs. This problem is a hypersensitive allergic reaction that happens because the antibiotic interferes with immune system cells.

As many serious infections are not yet resistant to vancomycin, the drug is often useful for patients who have bacterial infections that are resistant to other drugs. Two major immune system side effects are possible with vancomycin, however. The more serious is anaphylaxis, which can cause breathing difficulties due to swollen facial and throat tissues. In the case of vancomycin and Redman syndrome, the symptoms can be mild and are not life-threatening.

Problems occur with vancomycin and Redman syndrome when a doctor infuses the antibiotic into a patient's vein. Symptoms of vancomycin and Redman syndrome are most obvious on the skin. A red and itchy rash develops, but this can be as insignificant as a slight reddening of the skin. Dizziness, and flu-like fevers and headaches can also occur. Some people suffering from issues caused by vancomycin and Redman syndrome also have a drop in blood pressure or pain in their chest.

Certain components of the immune system are responsible for causing these symptoms. Cells called mast cells and basophils contain storage granules of a substance named histamine. Histamine is one of the signal molecules of the immune system, and plays a role in the development of inflammation. Vancomycin works on these cells to release the histamine stored inside.

Abnormally high levels of histamine in the circulation then causes the symptoms associated with Redman syndrome. The rash and itchiness represent an unnecessary activation of the immune system. Doctors may actually give patients antihistamines before vancomycin treatment in anticipation of this immune system activation.

Only some people develop Redman syndrome, while others do not. Scientists think this is due to genetic differences between individual patients. For example, certain enzymes in the body naturally break down histamine. Two enzymes perform this role, which are histamine N-methyltranserase and diamine oxidase. Different people produce slightly different versions of these enzymes, that could have different efficiencies, and which may be one explanation for the absence of Redman syndrome in some people and the development of it in others.

As well as potential genetic causes, other antibiotics can work in conjunction with vancomycin and increase the risk of Redman syndrome. Examples of these antibiotics, which a doctor may administer along with vancomycin, include ciprofloxacin and amphotericinB. Certain painkillers and muscle relaxing drugs can also make the syndrome more likely.

The Health Board 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.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.