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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Generic drug name: rifampin (rif AM pin)
Brand name(s): RIFADIN, RIFAMATE, RIMACTANE
GENERIC: not available FAMILY: Drugs for Tuberculosis
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

Rifampin caused harm to developing fetuses in animal studies including cleft palate, spina bifida, brittle bones, and death. When taken during the last few weeks of pregnancy, rifampin can cause hemorrhaging in both the mother and infant. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects, this drug should not be used by pregnant women.

Breast-feeding Warning

No information is available from either human or animal studies. Since it is likely that this drug, like many others, is excreted in human milk, and because rifampin caused tumors in animals, you should not take this drug while nursing.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Rifampin is used together with other drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB). Rifampin and isoniazid are the most effective drugs to fight TB.[1]

If you test positive for TB in a skin test but do not have a confirmed case of the disease, and your doctor decides you need preventive treatment, your treatment will probably be isoniazid (LANIAZID) alone. If you are carrying a type of bacteria known as meningococcus, which can cause life-threatening meningitis, but you have no symptoms, you may be...

Rifampin is used together with other drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB). Rifampin and isoniazid are the most effective drugs to fight TB.[1]

If you test positive for TB in a skin test but do not have a confirmed case of the disease, and your doctor decides you need preventive treatment, your treatment will probably be isoniazid (LANIAZID) alone. If you are carrying a type of bacteria known as meningococcus, which can cause life-threatening meningitis, but you have no symptoms, you may be prescribed a short course of rifampin alone.

Some people have developed severe and even fatal liver disease while taking rifampin. You increase your risk of liver disease if you drink alcohol daily, so do not drink while taking this drug. Call your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of liver disease: fatigue, weakness, malaise (vague feeling of being unwell), loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting or yellow eyes or skin. If you have impaired liver function, you will probably need to take less than the usual adult dose of rifampin.

Patients taking rifampin and using oral contraceptives may experience a drop in the effectiveness of their oral contraceptives.[2] It is therefore advisable to use an alternative or additional form of contraception if you have to take rifampin and are using oral contraceptives.

Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) syndrome may occur in patients taking rifampin. DRESS is a severe, sometimes  fatal allergic-like drug reaction that involves high fever, rash, swelling of the mouth and throat, and inflammation of internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs and heart.[3]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • pregnancy or are breast-feeding
  • unusual reaction to rifampin
  • alcohol dependence
  • liver problems

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • If you plan to have any surgery, including dental, tell your doctor that you take this drug.
  • Check with your doctor if there is no improvement within two to three weeks.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you have loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Check with your doctor or dentist about proper oral hygiene.
  • Rifampin causes urine, feces, saliva, spit, sweat, and tears to turn reddish-orange to reddish-brown. It may permanently discolor soft contact lenses. You do not need to call your doctor about this effect.
  • Use an alternative method of contraception if taking estrogen-containing oral contraceptives.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Take this drug for the prescribed length of time, which may be months or years. If you stop too soon, your symptoms could come back.
  • Take with a full glass (eight ounces) of water. Take with or without food.
  • Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

AGENERASE, AMBIEN, amiodarone, amprenavir, ANZEMET, CALAN SR, CATAPRES, chloramphenicol, CHLOROMYCETIN, clonidine, clozapine, CLOZARIL, CORDARONE, COUMADIN, COVERA-HS, COZAAR, CRIXIVAN, CRYSTODIGIN, cyclosporine, delavirdine, digitoxin, digoxin, DILANTIN, dolasetron, DOLOPHINE, DURAQUIN, ELIXOPHYLLIN, FLUOTHANE, FORTOVASE, HALDOL, haloperidol, halothane, indinavir, INH, INVIRASE, isoniazid, ISOPTIN SR, ketoconazole, LANOXICAPS, LANOXIN, LOPRESSOR, losartan, methadone, METHADOSE, metoprolol, METRETON, nelfinavir, NEORAL, nevirapine, NIZORAL, NORVIR, oral contraceptives, phenytoin, PRANDIN, PRED FORTE, prednisolone, PROGRAF, pyrazinamide, QUINAGLUTE DURA-TABS, QUINIDEX, quinidine, RAPAMUNE, repaglinide, RESCRIPTOR, ritonavir, RETROVIR, RIFATER, RIFAMATE, rofecoxib, SANDIMMUNE, saquinavir, sildenafil, sirolimus, SLO-BID, tacrolimus, THEO-24, theophylline, TOPROL XL, verapamil, VERELAN, VIAGRA, VIOXX, VIRACEPT, VIRAMUNE, warfarin, zidovudine (AZT), zolpidem.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • fever
  • chills
  • trouble breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • muscle or joint aches
  • shivering
  • skin rash
  • itching
  • confusion or inability to concentrate
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abnormal tiredness or weakness
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • noticeable decrease in frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • sore throat
  • abnormal bruising or bleeding
  • yellow eyes or skin

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • sore mouth or tongue
  • blurred or changed vision

Signs of overdose:

  • reddish color of skin, mouth, or eyes
  • swelling around the eyes or face
  • itching over whole body
  • mental changes

If you suspect an overdose, call this number to contact your poison control center: (800) 222-1222.

Periodic Tests[top]

Ask your doctor which of these tests should be done periodically while you are taking this drug:

  • liver function tests

last reviewed April 30, 2021