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Rifampin

Generic Name: rifampin (oral/injection) (rif AM pin)
Brand Name: Rifadin, Rifadin IV, Rimactane

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 3, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is rifampin?

Rifampin is an antibiotic that is used to treat or prevent tuberculosis (TB).

Rifampin may also be used to reduce certain bacteria in your nose and throat that could cause meningitis or other infections. Rifampin prevents you from spreading these bacteria to other people, but rifampin will not treat an active meningitis infection.

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

Important Information

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Many drugs can interact, and some drugs should not be used together.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use rifampin if you are allergic to rifampin or similar medicines such as rifabutin, rifapentine, rifamycin, or rifaximin.

Many drugs can interact and cause dangerous effects. Some drugs should not be used together with rifampin. Your doctor may change your treatment plan if you also use: atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, praziquantel, ritonavir, saquinavir, or tipranavir.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • diabetes;

  • liver disease;

  • bleeding problems; or

  • porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. However, using rifampin during the last few weeks of pregnancy may cause bleeding in the mother or the newborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Rifampin can make hormonal birth control less effective, including birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings. To prevent pregnancy while using rifampin, use a barrier form of birth control: condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, or contraceptive sponge.

You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.

How should I use rifampin?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Rifampin oral is taken by mouth. Rifampin injection is given as an infusion into a vein.

Take rifampin oral on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Take each dose with a full glass of water.

A healthcare provider will give you rifampin injection. Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when rifampin is injected.

Rifampin may cause temporary discoloration of your teeth, sweat, urine, saliva, and tears (a yellow, orange, red, or brown color). This side effect is usually not harmful. However, soft contact lenses may be permanently stained if you wear them while using rifampin.

Dark colored urine can be a sign of liver problems. Call your doctor if you have reddish-brown urine together with upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, and jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).

Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may increase your risk of further infection that is resistant to antibiotics. Rifampin will not treat a viral infection such as the flu or a common cold.

You should not stop using rifampin without your doctor's advice. Stopping the medicine suddenly and later starting again may cause kidney problems. Rifampin is usually given until lab tests show that the infection has cleared.

While using rifampin, you may need frequent blood tests.

This medicine may affect a drug-screening urine test and you may have false results. Tell the laboratory staff that you use rifampin.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

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

Overdose can cause worsening symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, itching, headache, lack of energy leading to loss of consciousness, and dark or discolored skin, saliva, tears, urine, or stools.

What should I avoid while using rifampin?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.

Avoid wearing contact lenses. Rifampin may discolor your tears, which could permanently stain soft contact lenses.

Rifampin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, rash, feeling light-headed, wheezing, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning in your eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling).

Seek medical treatment if you have a serious drug reaction that can affect many parts of your body. Symptoms may include: skin rash, fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, severe weakness, unusual bruising, and joint pain or stiffness.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;

  • chest pain, cough, shortness of breath;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums);

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • flu symptoms--fever, chills, body aches, headache, weakness, nausea, vomiting; or

  • liver problems--upper stomach pain, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • red discoloration of your teeth, sweat, urine, saliva, and tears;

  • heartburn, gas, upset stomach, loss of appetite;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • fever;

  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness;

  • muscle weakness, pain in your arms or legs;

  • problems with balance or muscle movement;

  • numbness; or

  • confusion, changes in behavior, trouble concentrating.

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.

What other drugs will affect rifampin?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

Rifampin can harm your liver, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, tuberculosis, depression, birth control, hormone replacement, high cholesterol, heart problems, high blood pressure, seizures, pain, or arthritis (including Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve).

Many drugs can affect rifampin, and some drugs should not be used at the same time. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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