What is rifampicin used for?
Rifampicin is the rifamycin antibiotic. It works by killing or stopping the growth of bacteria. This antibiotic treats only bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (e.g., common cold, flu). Unnecessary use or overuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.
Rifampicin is commonly used for prevention and treatment tuberculosis and other infections.
How should I take rifampicin?
Rifampicin is best taken on an empty stomach with a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters), 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals; or take as directed by your doctor.
If you have nausea, do not take antacids with rifampicin since it will lessen the effectiveness of this drug. However, if you need to take antacids, wait at least 1 hour after taking this drug.
If you are unable to swallow the capsules, you may open the capsule and sprinkle the contents onto a spoonful of cool, soft applesauce or jelly. Eat the entire mixture right away. Do not prepare a supply for future use.
How do I store rifampicin?
Rifampicin is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store rifampicin in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of rifampicin that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush rifampicin down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using rifampicin?
Rifampicin may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use rifampicin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
Rifampicin should be used only when clearly needed. When this drug is taken during the last few weeks of pregnancy, the risk of bleeding in both mother and infant may be increased. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any bleeding in your newborn. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Rifampicin passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
What side effects can occur from rifampicin?
Rifampicin may rarely cause serious liver disease. Though sometimes necessary to completely treat certain infections, combination treatment with other drugs (e.g., isoniazid, pyrazinamide) may increase this risk. Tell your doctor right away if some serious side effects occur:
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, headache, muscle aches)
- Signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine)
- Persistent nausea/vomiting
- Stomach/abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Yellowing eyes/skin
- Mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, unusual behavior)
- Unusual tiredness
- Easy bruising/bleeding
- Small red spots on the skin
- Joint pain/swelling
Rifampicin may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition (Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to a type of resistant bacteria. This condition may occur during treatment or weeks to months after treatment has stopped. Do not use anti-diarrhea products or narcotic pain of rifampicin if you have any of the following symptoms because these products may make them worse. Tell your doctor right away if you develop:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Abdominal or stomach pain/cramping
- Blood/mucus in your stool
Use of rifampicin for prolonged or repeated periods may result in oral thrush or a new yeast infection (oral/vaginal fungal infection). Contact your doctor if you notice white patches in your mouth, a change in vaginal discharge, or other new symptoms.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- Itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- Severe dizziness
- Trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with rifampicin?
Rifampicin may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products may interact with this drug including:
- Atazanavir, cabazitaxel, darunavir, delavirdine, dronedarone, etravirine, fosamprenavir, lurasidone, nifedipine, praziquantel, ranolazine, saquinavir, tipranavir, tyrosine kinase receptor inhibitors (eg, lapatinib), or voriconazole because their effectiveness may be decreased by rifampicin.
- Many prescription medicines (e.g., used for angina, anxiety, asthma, birth control, blood thinning, cancer, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high iron levels, high uric acid levels, HIV, hormone replacement, immune system suppression, infections, inflammation, irregular heartbeat, low sodium levels, low vitamin D levels, mental or mood problems, nausea and vomiting, pain, seizures, sleep, thyroid) may interact with rifampicin, increasing the risk of side effects or decreasing effectiveness.
Does food or alcohol interact with rifampicin?
Rifampicin may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with rifampicin?
Some health conditions may interact with rifampicin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any health conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- If you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement.
- If you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances.
- If you have adrenal gland problems, the blood disease porphyria, diabetes, liver problems (e.g., cirrhosis, jaundice), or inflammation or obstruction of the bile ducts.
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using rifampicin.
What is the dose of rifampicin for an adult?
Usual adult dose for tuberculosis – active
Daily regimen: 10 mg/kg (up to 600 mg/day) orally or IV once a day.
Intermittent regimen: 10 mg/kg (up to 600 mg/dose) orally or IV 2 or 3 times a week.
Usual adult dose for tuberculosis – latent
10 mg/kg (not to exceed 600 mg) orally or IV once a day for 4 months.
Usual adult dose for meningococcal meningitis prophylaxis
600 mg orally or IV twice a day for 2 days.
Usual adult dose for haemophilus influenzae prophylaxis
600 mg orally or IV once a day for 4 consecutive days.
Usual adult dose for endocarditis
300 mg orally or IV every 8 hours for 6 weeks.
Usual adult dose for legionella pneumonia
600 mg orally or IV once a day for 14 days.
Usual adult dose for nasal carriage of staphylococcus aureus
600 mg orally or IV twice a day for 5 days.
Usual adult dose for meningitis
600 mg orally or IV once a day for 10 to 14 days.
Usual adult dose for leprosy – tuberculoid
600 mg orally once a month, plus dapsone 100 mg daily, for a total of 6 months of therapy.
Usual adult dose for leprosy – borderline
600 mg orally once a month along with clofazimine, plus daily dapsone and clofazimine, for a total of 12 months of therapy.
What is the dose of rifampicin for a child?
Usual pediatric dose for meningococcal meningitis prophylaxis
Less than 1 month: 5 mg/kg orally or IV every 12 hours for 2 days.
1 month or older: 10 mg/kg (not to exceed 600 mg/dose) orally or IV every 12 hours for 2 days.
Usual pediatric dose for tuberculosis – active
- For patients less than 15 years,
Daily regimen: 10 to 20 mg/kg/day (up to 600 mg/day) orally or IV
Intermittent regimen: 10 to 20 mg/kg (up to 600 mg/dose) orally or IV twice a week.
- For patients 15 years or older,
Daily regimen: 10 mg/kg (up to 600 mg/day) orally or IV once a day
Intermittent regimen: 10 mg/kg (up to 600 mg/dose) orally or IV 2 or 3 times a week.
Usual pediatric dose for tuberculosis – latent
10 to 20 mg/kg/day (up to 600 mg/day) orally or IV for 4 to 6 months.
How is rifampicin available?
Rifampicin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Tablet 300mg
- Tablet 150mg
- Tablet 600 mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of rifampicin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Rifampicin. https://www.drugs.com/cdi/Rifampicin.html. Accessed October 26, 2016.
Rifampicin. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1744/Rifampicinoral/details#uses. Accessed October 26, 2016.
Rifampicin. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682403.html. Accessed October 26, 2016.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017