By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel


What is Xifaxan® (rifaximin) used for?

Xifaxan® 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 Xifaxan® treats only the intestinal tract, it will not treat infections of other parts of the body.

Xifaxan® 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 E. coli bacteria.

Xifaxan® is also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome in adults whose main symptom is diarrhea.

Xifaxan® is also used to lower the risk of worsened brain function in adults with liver failure. Brain function can be affected when the liver stops working and cannot remove toxic substances from the body.

How should I take Xifaxan® (rifaximin)?

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

You may take Xifaxan® with or without food.

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

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 24 hours, or if they get worse while using this medicine.

Xifaxan® does not treat all bacterial forms of traveler’s diarrhea.

How do I store Xifaxan® (rifaximin)?

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

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 Xifaxan® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

You should not take Xifaxan® if you are allergic to rifaximin, rifabutin, rifampin, or rifapentine.

To make sure Xifaxan® is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Liver disease
  • Diarrhea with a fever
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea

It is not known whether Xifaxan® will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether rifaximin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Xifaxan® should not be given to a child younger than 12 years old.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Xifaxan® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Xifaxan®. Xifaxan® 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 Xifaxan® (rifaximin)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Xifaxan®: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Xifaxan® and call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects may include:

  • Swelling in your hands, feet, or midsection
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Tired feeling
  • Abnormal liver function tests

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.


What drugs may interact with Xifaxan® (rifaximin)?

Xifaxan® 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:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Lopinavir and ritonavir
  • An antibiotic-azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin
  • Antifungal medicine-itraconazole, ketoconazole
  • Heart or blood pressure medicine-amiodarone, captopril, carvedilol, diltiazem, dronedarone, felodipine, quinidine, ranolazine, verapamil

Does food or alcohol interact with Xifaxan® (rifaximin)?

Xifaxan® 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 Xifaxan® (rifaximin)?

Xifaxan® 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.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Xifaxan® (rifaximin).

What is the dose of Xifaxan® (rifaximin) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Traveler’s Diarrhea:

200 mg orally 3 times a day for 3 days

Usual Adult Dose for Hepatic Encephalopathy:

550 mg orally twice a day.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea

The recommended dose is one 550 mg tablet taken orally three times a day for 14 days. Patients who experience a recurrence of symptoms can be retreated up to two times with the same dosage regimen.

What is the dose of Xifaxan® (rifaximin) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Traveler’s Diarrhea:

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

How is Xifaxan® (rifaximin) available?

Xifaxan® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet: rifaximin 550mg

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 Xifaxan®, 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.

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Review Date: August 15, 2017 | Last Modified: December 19, 2019

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