rifaximin (Oral route)

Pronunciation

rif-AX-i-min

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Xifaxan

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Tablet

Therapeutic Class: Antibiotic

Chemical Class: Rifamycin

Uses For rifaximin

Rifaximin is used to treat traveler's diarrhea that is caused by a bacteria called Escherichia coli. It is also used to prevent hepatic encephalopathy, which is a condition that occurs when your liver does not work normally. Rifaximin is an antibiotic that works by killing the bacteria and preventing its growth. However, rifaximin will not work for colds, flu, or other virus infections.

Slideshow: Foodborne Illness: The Thanksgiving Guest Nobody Invited

rifaximin is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using rifaximin

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For rifaximin, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to rifaximin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of rifaximin in children younger than 12 years of age with traveler's diarrhea. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of rifaximin in children with hepatic encephalopathy. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of rifaximin in the elderly.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of rifaximin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Diarrhea and blood in the stool or
  • Diarrhea and fever or
  • Diarrhea caused by antibiotics or
  • Diarrhea not caused by Escherichia coli—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.

Proper Use of rifaximin

Take rifaximin exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.

To help clear up your infection completely, keep taking rifaximin for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better after a few days. If you stop taking rifaximin too soon, your infection may return.

You may take rifaximin with or without food.

Dosing

The dose of rifaximin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of rifaximin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For diarrhea:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—200 milligrams (mg) 3 times per day for 3 days.
      • Children under 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For preventing hepatic encephalopathy:
      • Adults—550 milligrams (mg) 2 times per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of rifaximin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using rifaximin

It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child to see if the medicine is working properly. This will allow your doctor to decide if you or your child should continue to take it.

Check with your doctor right away if the diarrhea does not stop in 1 or 2 days or if you or your child develop a fever or have blood in your stool.

A person can become dehydrated if too much fluid is lost from the body with diarrhea. Make sure you or your child drink plenty of fluids while you have diarrhea. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of the following symptoms: decreased urination, dizziness, dry mouth, increased thirst, or lightheadedness.

rifaximin Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Black, tarry stools
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • muscle spasm
  • rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • sleeplessness
  • trouble sleeping
  • unable to sleep
Less common
  • Blood in urine
  • bloody nose
  • chest pain
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • fainting
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • increased heart rate
  • sensation of spinning
  • sunken eyes
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
  • Cracks in the skin
  • hives or welts
  • itching skin
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • loss of heat from the body
  • rash
  • red, swollen skin scaly skin
  • redness of skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Bloated
  • difficulty in moving
  • dizziness
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • fever
  • frequent urge to defecate
  • full feeling
  • headache
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain in joints
  • passing gas
  • stomach pain
  • straining while passing stool
  • swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
Less common
  • Abnormal dreams
  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • confusion
  • cough
  • decreased urination
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • dry lips
  • dry mouth
  • ear pain
  • feeling of warmth
  • hearing loss
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of taste
  • nausea
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • swollen glands
  • thirst
  • vomiting
  • wrinkled skin

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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