Red Man Syndrome – Pictures, Treatment, Symptoms, Causes

What is Red Man Syndrome (RMS)?

Red Man Syndrome is more of a reaction or side effects than any disease. The Vancomycin causes the hypersensitivity reactions, and Red Man Syndrome is the most common and negative impact of it. It is also known as Red Neck Syndrome. The most prominent symptom of Red Man Syndrome is the redness or rashes on the back of the neck.


Red Man Syndrome Causes:

The prime cause of RMS is the infusion of Vancomycin. Vancomycin creates a reaction in the body that causes the syndrome. It can be caused whether Vancomycin has been taken through injections or oral medications. However, Red Man Syndrome can be caused by some other antibiotics such as Teicoplanin, Rifampicin, Amphotericin B and Ciprofloxacin. The antibiotics basically make Basophils and Mast Cells to degranulate. The impact of the Red Man Syndrome becomes even stronger when many drugs start producing the reaction. Muscle Relaxants can also be a cause along with the reaction producing drug for RMS. Histamine releasing drugs can also create the Red Man Syndrome.

Red Man Syndrome Symptoms:

As discussed earlier, RMS is best described as a reaction. However, the symptoms of the syndrome are very crucial to detect it. The reactions of the body should be immediately stopped once Red Man Syndrome has been identified by avoiding the drugs. However, the symptoms of the disease often go unnoticed and thus it is very important to observe.

Redness and rashes are the most common symptoms of the Red Man Syndrome. The rashes can be noticed in the back of neck, arms, upper portion of the body, back and even in the face. Itching on the rashes are very important as well for Red Man Syndrome.

Feeling of Fever and Chills are also an indicator of the Red Man Syndrome as a reaction to the drugs.

Low Blood Pressure often troubles the patient in case of Red Man Syndrome. It can also create fast heartbeats and uneasy feelings. It has been noticed that the Red Man Syndrome can even cause shortness in breath or breathlessness.

Nausea and vomiting are also crucial symptoms or parameters to identify the Red Man Syndrome. Hives are also associated with it. The patient suffering from Red Man Syndrome becomes very weak and starts showing lack of appetite.

Weakness, muscle fatigue and dizziness are also very common symptoms of the disease. However, the Red Man Syndrome can even cause frequent faintness or unconsciousness.


Even though it is not very common but Red Man Syndrome can even cause Angioedema and Hypotension. The symptoms are based on the health conditions of the patients and other factors. There have been situations where Red Man Syndrome has induced Dyspnea, Muscle Spasm and even severe pain in the chest or in back. However, the symptoms are not so common and not frequently seen among the patients.

The symptoms of the RMS can start within few minutes of Vancomycin infusion. However, it is very important to understand that the criticality of the situation increases every time the patient is exposed to the drug. The infusion of vancomycin through injection can create the symptoms almost immediately.

Treatments of Red Man Syndrome:

The treatments of the RMS also include the required prevention from the reaction. The most common treatment available for RMS is to use antihistamines in order to curb the impact of the reaction. The usage of Vancomycin or any other similar drug should be immediately stopped once Red Man Syndrome has been identified. Patients may undergo medications of Diphenhydramine to avoid Red Man Syndrome.

In a prevention act use of Hydroxyzine before the infusion of vancomycin is also beneficial. This prevents the reaction of the drug and Red Man Syndrome does not come into effect. It is also advisable to inform the doctor about any allergy of medicine well in advance so that the doctor can understand your medical history and prescribe accordingly. If you are undergoing any treatment and using some medicine, your doctor should know about it upfront.


Small prevention and care can save you from one of the irritation and occasionally severe reactions. Healthy practice can actually avoid the Red Man Syndrome due to any drug.

Pictures of Red Man Syndrome

Red man syndrome on face


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Red man syndrome over face

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red man syndrome picture

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Red man syndrome photo rash erythema

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