Rifampicin can be used to treat serious bacterial infections, and your healthcare provider may prescribe it for you for the following conditions:
- If you have a tuberculosis (TB) infection with or without symptoms.
- When you have a severe bacterial infection affecting your skin, lining of the airways, and nerves (leprosy).
- When you have a serious bacterial infections of the skin.
- If you have infections caused by staphylococcus bacteria.
- Your healthcare provider can also recommend it for severe infections of the brain and spinal cord lining caused by bacteria (e.g. extrapulmonary tuberculosis).
Rifampicin is an antibiotic used for treating tuberculosis. It is swallowed whole as a capsule or solution and used in combination with other anti-tuberculosis drugs like Isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. It may cause a red colouration of your urine, tears, sweat and spit.
Rifampicin is a prescription-only medicine. It is not useful against viral infections like the common cold or the flu.
- Rifampicin comes in tablet or suspension form to be taken by mouth 30 minutes before your meal or two hours after. Ensure you measure the suspension with the measuring spoon or cup that comes with the drug when giving it to your child.
- For the best effect, use this medicine as prescribed every day until the entire prescribed treatment period is finished. Stopping this medication too early may result in a return of the infection.
- If you miss a dose, take the medication as soon as you remember. If the time for your next dose is near, skip the missed dose and continue with the next dose.
- Do not add or reduce your dose without the knowledge of your healthcare provider.
- Go to the nearest healthcare provider with the remaining drug if you have taken more than prescribed.
Rifampicin is usually well-tolerated, and it rarely causes severe side-effects. Here are some common side effects that should go away after a few days:
- You may notice your urine, sweat, and tears become orange in colour. If you wear contact lenses they may get stained.
- You may get headaches, feel dizzy, sick and experience pains in various parts of your body.
- Your skin may start to itch, with or without a rash.
- You may vomit, feel like vomiting or have stomach upsets.
- You may start passing loose stool and lose your appetite.
Rifampicin may cause other side effects. Inform your healthcare provider if any of these or other symptoms you experience are severe or do not go away after a week.
Before taking rifampicin, inform your healthcare provider if you have any disease. This will help them make a better choice when planning your treatment.
- Do not take rifampicin if you have had an allergic reaction to the medicine in the past.
- Do not use rifampicin if you have liver or kidney disease or you have jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and nails).
- You should also let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.