Rifampin

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Rifampin Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is rifampin used for?

Rifampin is commonly used for treating all forms of tuberculosis (TB). Rifampin is also used to treat patients who do not have meningitis but carry the meningitis bacteria in their nose and throat and may spread the bacteria to others. Rifampin does not treat meningitis. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Rifampin is a rifamycin antibiotic. It works by killing or stopping the growth of sensitive bacteria.

How should I take rifampin?

Use rifampin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

Rifampin is usually given as an injection at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using rifampin at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use rifampin. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.

Rifampin should be injected into a vein only, not into the muscle or under the skin.

Do not use rifampin if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.

To clear up your infection completely, use rifampin for the full course of treatment. Keep using it even if you feel better in a few days.

Rifampin works best if it is taken at the same time each day.

Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.

Do not stop using rifampin without checking with your doctor. Do not miss any doses. Rarely, kidney problems have occurred when patients started using rifampin again after therapy was interrupted.

How do I store rifampin?

Rifampin is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store rifampin in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of rifampin 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 rifampin 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 rifampin?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of rifampin or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
  • You have adrenal gland problems, the blood disease porphyria, diabetes, liver problems (e.g., cirrhosis, jaundice), or inflammation or obstruction of the bile ducts.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using rifampin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking rifampin. Rifampin is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from rifampin?

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Menstrual changes
  • Mild upset stomach or cramps

Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue)
  • Bloody or dark urine
  • Change in the amount of urine produced
  • Confusion
  • Dark, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • Red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
  • Severe diarrhea, stomach pain, or cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the arms, face, or legs
  • Symptoms of liver problems (e.g., dark urine, loss of appetite, pale stools, yellowing of the eyes or skin)
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with rifampin?

Rifampin 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 that may interact with this drug are:

  • Atazanavir, cabazitaxel, darunavir, delavirdine, dronedarone, etravirine, fosamprenavir, lurasidone, nifedipine, praziquantel, ranolazine, saquinavir, tipranavir, tyrosine kinase receptor inhibitors (e.g., lapatinib), or voriconazole because their effectiveness may be decreased by rifampin.
  • 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 rifampin, increasing the risk of side effects or decreasing effectiveness.

Does food or alcohol interact with rifampin?

Rifampin 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 rifampin?

Rifampin may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using rifampin.

What is the dose of rifampin for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Tuberculosis – Active

The manufacturer recommends: 10 mg/kg (not to exceed 600 mg) orally or IV once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Tuberculosis – Latent

Patients with a positive tuberculin test without evidence of disease: 10 mg/kg (not to exceed 600 mg) orally or IV once a day for 4 months.

Usual Adult Dose for Meningococcal Meningitis Prophylaxis

Treatment of asymptomatic carriers of Neisseria meningitidis to eliminate meningococci from the nasopharynx: 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

May be added to erythromycin therapy.

Usual Adult Dose for Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus

600 mg orally or IV twice a day for 5 days for the treatment of chronic carriage of Staphylococcus aureus.

Usual Adult Dose for Meningitis

Caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae: 600 mg orally or IV once a day for 10 to 14 days, in patients with severe penicillin allergy needing empiric or specific coverage.

Usual Adult Dose for Leprosy – Tuberculoid

Paucibacillary (tuberculid or indeterminate): 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

Multibacillary (lepromatous or 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 rifampin for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Meningococcal Meningitis Prophylaxis

Treatment of asymptomatic carriers of Neisseria meningitidis to eliminate meningococci from the nasopharynx:

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 pediatric patients, the manufacturer recommends: 10 to 20 mg/kg/day (not to exceed 600 mg/day) orally or IV.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Tuberculosis – Latent

Infants, children, and adolescents:

The ATS, CDC, and AAP recommend: 10 to 20 mg/kg/day (up to 600 mg/day) orally or IV for 4 to 6 months.

How is rifampin available?

Rifampin is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral capsule
  • Intravenous powder for injection
  • Compounding powder

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 rifampin, 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.

Review Date: August 22, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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