Rifampin belongs to the class of medications called antibiotics. It is used with other medications to treat tuberculosis infection in the lungs. It may also be used to prevent meningitis caused by specific bacteria or to prevent carrying the bacteria when exposed to someone with bacterial meningitis. Rifampin works by interfering with the production of genetic material needed for the bacteria to reproduce. It reduces the production of more bacteria as well as killing the bacteria.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Each coni-snap #4, elongated, maroon opaque capsule branded radial "ICN R11" contains 150 mg of rifampin, USP. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, NF; magnesium stearate, NF; and talc, USP.
Each lok-type #1 capsule, with brown opaque cap and scarlet opaque body branded "ICN R12", contains 300 mg of rifampin, USP. Nonmedicinal ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, NF; magnesium stearate, NF; sodium lauryl sulfate, NF; and talc, USP.
The usual adult dose of rifampin to treat tuberculosis is 600 mg taken once daily. Doses for children are based on body weight and calculated as 10 mg to 20 mg per kilogram of body weight to a maximum of 600 mg daily.
Rifampin is taken along with at least one other anti-tuberculosis medication until your doctor has determined that the infection has cleared.
To prevent bacterial meningitis, rifampin is taken as 600 mg every 12 hours for 2 days or 600 mg daily for 4 days, depending on the type of bacteria that is believed to cause the infection. Doses for children are based on body weight.
Rifampin should be taken on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
Finish all this medication, even if you have started to feel better. If you stop taking this medication early, the infection may return and be harder to treat.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Do not take this medication if you:
Do not give this medication to premature infants and newborns when the liver is not fully functioning.
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop using the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Antibiotic-related diarrhea: As with other antibacterial medications, rifampin can cause a severe form of diarrhea associated with a condition known as pseudomembranous colitis. If you develop severe diarrhea while taking (or within a few weeks of taking) this medication, contact your doctor.
Bacterial resistance: Misuse of an antibiotic such as rifampin may lead to the growth of resistant bacteria that will not be killed by the antibiotic. If this happens, the antibiotic may not work for you in the future. Although you may begin to feel better when you first start taking rifampin, you need to take all the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor to finish ridding your body of the infection and to prevent resistant bacteria from taking hold. Do not take rifampin or other antibiotics to treat a viral infection such as the common cold; antibiotics do not kill viruses, and using them to treat viral infections can lead to the growth of resistant bacteria.
Birth control: Rifampin can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control, which may lead to unplanned pregnancy. Women who may become pregnant while taking rifampin should use another or a second method of birth control.
Hypersensitivity syndrome: A severe allergic reaction called hypersensitivity syndrome has occurred for some people with the use of rifampin. Stop taking the medication and get immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including fever, swollen glands, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or flu-like symptoms with skin rash or blistering.
Red-orange discolouration: Rifampin causes substances produced by the body, such as stools, urine, tears, and sweat, to be coloured red-orange. This discolouration can cause contact lenses to become permanently stained.
Liver function: Rifampin can cause liver failure, which has in some cases caused death. This may be more likely to occur if you already have decreased liver function. Liver disease or reduced liver function may also cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Porphyria: Rifampin may cause attacks of a condition called acute porphyria (a disorder that affects the production of heme in the body). If you have porphyria, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication crosses the placental barrier, but its effect on a developing baby is not clear. Rifampin should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking rifampin, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: Rifampin should not be given to premature infants or newborns, as the liver may not be fully active.
There may be an interaction between rifampin and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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