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Rifampin (rifampicin): Patient drug information

Rifampin (rifampicin): Patient drug information
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For additional information see "Rifampin (rifampicin): Drug information" and "Rifampin (rifampicin): Pediatric drug information"

You must carefully read the "Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer" below in order to understand and correctly use this information.

Brand Names: US
  • Rifadin
Brand Names: Canada
  • Rifadin [DSC];
  • Rofact
What is this drug used for?
  • It is used to treat TB (tuberculosis).
  • It is used to stop the spread of meningitis in people who carry the bacteria but are not sick with the disease.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?
  • If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If this drug caused liver problems before.
  • If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with this drug, like certain drugs that are used for HIV, infections, or depression. There are many drugs that must not be taken with this drug. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if you are taking a drug that must not be taken with this drug.
  • This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?
  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have your blood work and other lab tests checked as you have been told by your doctor.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take this drug.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this drug.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely. Tell your doctor if you get signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, unusual thirst or hunger, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • This drug may stain contact lenses.
  • Do not use longer than you have been told. A second infection may happen.
  • Liver problems have happened with rifampin. Sometimes these problems have been deadly, especially in people who had liver disease and in people who took this drug with other drugs that may raise the chance of liver problems. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, tiredness, decreased appetite, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Certain lung problems have happened with this drug. These lung problems could be deadly. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
  • Severe skin reactions may happen with this drug. These include Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and other serious reactions. Sometimes, body organs may also be affected. These reactions can be deadly. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; red or irritated eyes; sores in your mouth, throat, nose, eyes, genitals, or any areas of skin; fever; chills; body aches; shortness of breath; or swollen glands.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly blood problems like thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP/HUS) have happened with this drug in some people. Call your doctor right away if you feel very tired or weak or have any bruising or bleeding; dark urine or yellow skin or eyes; pale skin; change in the amount of urine passed; change in eyesight; change in strength on 1 side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, or change in balance; or fever.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
  • WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • All products:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
  • Dizziness or passing out.
  • Flu-like signs.
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat; any unexplained bruising or bleeding; or feeling very tired or weak.
  • Joint pain or swelling.
  • Muscle pain or weakness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Purple spots or redness of the skin.
  • Change in balance.
  • Feeling confused, not able to focus, or change in behavior.
  • Period (menstrual) changes.
  • Change in eyesight, eye pain, or severe eye irritation.
  • Change in tooth color. These changes may be long-lasting.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have new or worse symptoms like cough, fever, feeling tired or weak, shortness of breath, headache, pain, night sweats, swollen gland, decreased appetite, weight loss, or skin sores.
  • Diarrhea is common with antibiotics. Rarely, a severe form called C diff–associated diarrhea (CDAD) may happen. Sometimes, this has led to a deadly bowel problem. CDAD may happen during or a few months after taking antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, cramps, or very loose, watery, or bloody stools. Check with your doctor before treating diarrhea.
  • Injection:
  • This drug may irritate the vein. If the drug leaks from the vein, it may also cause irritation around that area. Tell your nurse if you have any redness, burning, pain, swelling, or leaking of fluid where the drug is going into your body.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
  • All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Gas.
  • Diarrhea, upset stomach, or throwing up.
  • Heartburn.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Change in color of body fluids to orange or red.
  • These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
  • You may report side effects to your national health agency.
How is this drug best taken?
  • Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • Capsules:
  • Take on an empty stomach. Take 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
  • Take with a full glass of water.
  • Keep taking this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
  • If you are taking an antacid, take this drug at least 1 hour before taking the antacid.
  • A liquid (suspension) can be made if you cannot swallow pills. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If a liquid (suspension) is made, shake well before use.
  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure this drug.
  • Injection:
  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
  • Capsules:
  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • Injection:
  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.
How do I store and/or throw out this drug?
  • Capsules:
  • Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Protect from heat and light.
  • If a liquid (suspension) is made, store at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Throw away any part not used after 4 weeks.
  • Injection:
  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
  • All products:
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
General drug facts
  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Last Reviewed Date2023-02-23
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
  • This generalized information is a limited summary of diagnosis, treatment, and/or medication information. It is not meant to be comprehensive and should be used as a tool to help the user understand and/or assess potential diagnostic and treatment options. It does NOT include all information about conditions, treatments, medications, side effects, or risks that may apply to a specific patient. It is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a health care provider based on the health care provider's examination and assessment of a patient's specific and unique circumstances. Patients must speak with a health care provider for complete information about their health, medical questions, and treatment options, including any risks or benefits regarding use of medications. This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for treating a specific patient. UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates disclaim any warranty or liability relating to this information or the use thereof. The use of this information is governed by the Terms of Use, available at https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/know/clinical-effectiveness-terms.
  • © 2024 UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.
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