rifaximin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: rifaximin (rif AX i min)
Brand Name: Xifaxan

What is rifaximin?

Rifaximin is an antibiotic that fights bacterial infection only in the intestines.

Rifaximin works differently from other antibiotics because it passes through your stomach and into your intestines without being absorbed into your blood stream. Because rifaximin treats only the intestinal tract, it will not treat infections of other parts of the body.

Rifaximin is used to treat travelers' diarrhea caused by E. coli in adults and children who are at least 12 years old. Most people get this infection by eating food or drinking fluids that have been contaminated with the bacteria.

Rifaximin is also used to lower the risk of worsened brain function, or hepatic encephalopathy (he-PAT-ik en-SEF-a-LOP-ath-ee), in adults with liver failure. Brain function can be affected when the liver stops working and cannot remove toxic substances from the body.

Rifaximin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about rifaximin?

Rifaximin works differently from other antibiotics because it passes through your stomach and into your intestines without being absorbed into your blood stream. Because rifaximin affects only the intestinal tract, it will not treat infections of other parts of the body.

You should not use take this medication if you are allergic to rifaximin or medications such as rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate), or rifapentine (Priftin).

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Before you take rifaximin, tell your doctor if you have severe liver disease, diarrhea with fever, or diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it.

Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Rifaximin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu, or any form of diarrhea that is caused by a virus.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 24 hours, or if they get worse while taking rifaximin. Rifaximin does not treat all bacterial forms of traveler's diarrhea.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking rifaximin?

You should not use take this medication if you are allergic to rifaximin or medications such as rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate), or rifapentine (Priftin).

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a rifaximin dose adjustment or special tests:

  • severe liver disease;

  • diarrhea with a fever; or

  • watery or bloody diarrhea.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether rifaximin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether rifaximin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take rifaximin?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Rifaximin can be taken with or without food.

Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Rifaximin will not treat a viral infection such as the common cold or flu, or any form of diarrhea that is caused by a virus.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 24 hours, or if they get worse while taking rifaximin. Rifaximin does not treat all bacterial forms of traveler's diarrhea.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking rifaximin?

Antibiotic medicines can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking rifaximin and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Rifaximin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using rifaximin and call your doctor at once if you have a fever or diarrhea that is watery or bloody.

Less serious side effects are more likely, and may include:

  • bloating, gas, stomach pain;

  • feeling like you need to empty your bowel urgently;

  • feeling like your bowel is not completely empty;

  • nausea, vomiting, constipation;

  • headache, dizziness;

  • tired feeling; or

  • swelling in your hands, feet, or torso.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Rifaximin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Traveler's Diarrhea:

200 mg orally 3 times a day for 3 days

Comments:
-Should not use in patients with diarrhea complicated by fever and/or blood in the stool or diarrhea caused by pathogens other than Escherichia coli

Use: For the treatment of travelers' diarrhea due to noninvasive strains of E coli

Usual Adult Dose for Hepatic Encephalopathy:

550 mg orally twice a day

Comments:
-In trials, lactulose was used concomitantly in 91% of patients; differences in treatment effect of patients not using concomitant lactulose could not be assessed.

Use: For reduction in risk of overt hepatic encephalopathy recurrence

Usual Pediatric Dose for Traveler's Diarrhea:

12 years or older: 200 mg orally 3 times a day for 3 days

Comments:
-Should not use in patients with diarrhea complicated by fever and/or blood in the stool or diarrhea caused by pathogens other than E coli

Use: For the treatment of travelers' diarrhea due to noninvasive strains of E coli

What other drugs will affect rifaximin?

There may be other drugs that can interact with rifaximin. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about rifaximin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.02. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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