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28 Feb 2013 03:52 PM

Rifampin, an Antibiotic Drug for Tuberculosis

Rifampin, also known as rifampicin and rifaldazine is an antibiotic drug. It is used for the treatment of bacteria, especially Mycobacteruim strain of bacteria that cause tuberculosis and other diseases. The medicine is available under many brand names including rifadin, tubocin, sinerdol, rimactan, rifadine, eremfat, rimycin and rifater. Rifampin is used for the treatment of neisseria meningitis as monotherapy but there may be development of resistance when the treatment is long for active infections. The medicine is also used for cholestatic pruritus, hansen’s disease and BCG-oma. Rifampin is also useful for prevention of infection among those who are close to patients of bacterial infection. For active infections, the medicine is used along with other antibiotics like isoniazid, ethanmbutol and others. The patient should take the medicine everyday continuously for several months. In case there is a gap or break, the risk of developing resistance increases. Since there is a chance of increased resistance, monotherapy of rifampin should not be prescribed and other antibiotics should be included in the therapy. The medicine is not used for the treatment of viral infections, cold, and flu.

Adverse effects of rifampin include hepatotoxicity, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, breathlessness, respiratory problems, nausea, vomiting, flushing, pruritis, rashes, arthralgia, immunological reactions, red and watery eyes, malaise, flu symptoms, colored urine and tears, gastrointestinal disturbances. Some other side effects of the medicine are itching, headache, problem in concentration, heartburn, vision changes, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion and muscle weakness, lack of coordination, behavior changes, and pain in the limbs. Women may have painful and irregular menstruation. Some serious side effects of the medicine are hives, fever, rashes, loss of appetite, pain and swelling in the joints, unusual tiredness, red skin spots, dark colored urine, yellow skin, and eyes, blisters and swelling. If the patient experiences any of these symptoms, he must call the doctor immediately. The medicine may cause permanent staining in the soft contact lenses. The medicine may cause liver disease but this is an infrequent effect.

In rare cases, rifadin may cause intestinal disorder, agitation, back pain, cough, hoarseness, dark urine, difficulty in swallowing, fainting, hostility, high blood pressure, lethargy, irritability, mental depression, pain, and difficulty in urination, weight gain, wheezing, light colored stools, increased thirst, fast heartbeat, bloody urine and stools and bleeding gums. The medicine decreases the effect of hormonal contraception. Breast-feeding should not be done while using rifampin as the medicine is excreted in breast milk. The medicine reduces the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. Therefore, women should use other form of contraceptives. When the medicine is used for a long time, it may cause oral thrush and yeast infection. If the patient has white patches near the mouth or vaginal discharge changes, he or she must consult a doctor. The patient should consult a doctor for the risks associated with the use of rifampin.

The patient should take rifampin with water on empty stomach, one hour before meals or two hours after the meal. In case there is nausea, the patient should avoid taking antacids with rifampin as this reduces the effectivesness of the medicine. If the patient wants to have antacids, he should take it after one hour of taking rifampin.
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