Rifampin is used with other medications to treat tuberculosis (TB; a serious infection that affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body). Rifampin is also used to treat some people who have Neisseria meningitidis (a type of bacteria that can cause a serious infection called meningitis) infections in their noses or throats. These people have not developed symptoms of the disease, and this treatment is used to prevent them from infecting other people. Rifampin should not be used to treat people who have developed symptoms of meningitis. Rifampin is in a class of medications called antimycobacterials. It works by killing the bacteria that cause infection. Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
Rifampin comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It should be taken with a full glass of water on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. When rifampin is used to treat tuberculosis, it is taken once daily. When rifampin is used to prevent the spread of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria to other people, it is taken twice daily for two days. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take rifampin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you cannot swallow the capsules. Your pharmacist can prepare a liquid for you to take instead.
If you are taking rifampin to treat tuberculosis, your doctor may tell you to take rifampin for several months or longer. Continue to take rifampin until you finish the prescription even if you feel better, and be careful not to miss doses. If you stop taking rifampin too soon, your infection may not be completely treated and the bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics. If you miss doses of rifampin, you may develop uncomfortable or serious symptoms when you begin to take the medication again.
Rifampin is also sometimes used to treat infections caused by other types of bacteria and to prevent infection in people who have been in close contact with a person who has certain serious bacterial infections. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Do not miss doses of rifampin. Missing doses may increase the risk that you will experience serious side effects. If you do miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and call your doctor. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
lack of coordination
changes in behavior
pain in the arms, hands, feet, or legs
painful or irregular menstrual periods
swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
loss of appetite
joint pain or swelling
yellowing of the skin or eyes
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Rifampin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
loss of consciousness
yellowing of the skin or eyes
reddish brown discoloration of the skin, saliva, urine, feces, sweat, and tears
tenderness in the upper right part of the stomach
swelling of the eyes or face
fast or irregular heartbeat
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to rifampin.
Before having any laboratory test, including drug screening tests, tell the laboratory personnel that you are taking rifampin. Rifampin may cause the results of certain drug screening tests to be positive even though you have not taken the drugs.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 12/15/2012
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.