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Heartburn, epigastric distress, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, flatulence, cramps, and diarrhea have been noted in some patients. Although Clostridium difficile has been shown in vitro to be sensitive to rifampin, pseudomembranous colitis has been reported with the use of rifampin (and other broad spectrum antibiotics). Therefore, it is important to consider this diagnosis in patients who develop diarrhea in association with antibiotic use.
Transient abnormalities in liver function tests (e.g., elevations in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, serum transaminases) have been observed. Rarely, hepatitis or a shock-like syndrome with hepatic involvement and abnormal liver function tests has been reported.
Thrombocytopenia has occurred primarily with high dose intermittent therapy, but has also been noted after resumption of interrupted treatment. It rarely occurs during well supervised daily therapy. This effect is reversible if the drug is discontinued as soon as purpura occurs. Cerebral hemorrhage and fatalities have been reported when rifampin administration has been continued or resumed after the appearance of purpura.
Rare reports of disseminated intravascular coagulation have been observed.
Agranulocytosis has been reported very rarely.
Central Nervous System
Headache, fever, drowsiness, fatigue, ataxia, dizziness, inability to concentrate, mental confusion, behavioral changes, muscular weakness, pains in extremities, and generalized numbness have been observed.
Psychoses have been rarely reported.
Rare reports of myopathy have also been observed.
Visual disturbances have been observed.
Menstrual disturbances have been observed.
Rare reports of adrenal insufficiency in patients with compromised adrenal function have been observed.
Elevations in BUN and serum uric acid have been reported. Rarely, hemolysis, hemoglobinuria, hematuria, interstitial nephritis, acute tubular necrosis, renal insufficiency, and acute renal failure have been noted. These are generally considered to be hypersensitivity reactions. They usually occur during intermittent therapy or when treatment is resumed following intentional or accidental interruption of a daily dosage regimen, and are reversible when rifampin is discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted.
Cutaneous reactions are mild and self-limiting and do not appear to be hypersensitivity reactions. Typically, they consist of flushing and itching with or without a rash. More serious cutaneous reactions which may be due to hypersensitivity occur but are uncommon.
Occasionally, pruritus, urticaria, rash, pemphigoid reaction, erythema multiforme including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, vasculitis, eosinophilia, sore mouth, sore tongue, and conjunctivitis have been observed.
Anaphylaxis has been reported rarely.
Edema of the face and extremities have been reported. Other reactions which have occurred with intermittent dosage regimens include &lduqo;flu syndrome&rduqo; (such as episodes of fever, chills, headache, dizziness, and bone pain), shortness of breath, wheezing, decrease in blood pressure and shock. The &lduqo;flu syndrome&rduqo; may also appear if rifampin is taken irregularly by the patient or if daily administration is resumed after a drug free interval.
Read the Rifadin (rifampin) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Healthy subjects who received rifampin 600 mg once daily concomitantly with saquinavir 1000 mg/ritonavir 100 mg twice daily (ritonavir-boosted saquinavir) developed severe hepatocellular toxicity. Therefore, concomitant use of these medications is contraindicated. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS.)
Rifampin is known to induce certain cytochrome P-450 enzymes. Administration of rifampin with drugs that undergo biotransformation through these metabolic pathways may accelerate elimination of coadministered drugs. To maintain optimum therapeutic blood levels, dosages of drugs metabolized by these enzymes may require adjustment when starting or stopping concomitantly administered rifampin.
Rifampin has been reported to substantially decrease the plasma concentrations of the following antiviral drugs: atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, saquinavir, and tipranavir. These antiviral drugs must not be co-administered with rifampin. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS.)
Rifampin has been reported to accelerate the metabolism of the following drugs: anticonvulsants (e.g., phenytoin), digitoxin, antiarrhythmics (e.g., disopyramide, mexiletine, quinidine, tocainide), oral anticoagulants, antifungals (e.g., fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole), barbiturates, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil), chloramphenicol, clarithromycin, corticosteroids, cyclosporine, cardiac glycoside preparations, clofibrate, oral or other systemic hormonal contraceptives, dapsone, diazepam, doxycycline, fluoroquinolones (e.g., ciprofloxacin), haloperidol, oral hypoglycemic agents (sulfonylureas), levothyroxine, methadone, narcotic analgesics, progestins, quinine, tacrolimus, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, nortriptyline) and zidovudine. It may be necessary to adjust the dosages of these drugs if they are given concurrently with rifampin.
Patients using oral or other systemic hormonal contraceptives should be advised to change to nonhormonal methods of birth control during rifampin therapy.
Rifampin has been observed to increase the requirements for anticoagulant drugs of the coumarin type. In patients receiving anticoagulants and rifampin concurrently, it is recommended that the prothrombin time be performed daily or as frequently as necessary to establish and maintain the required dose of anticoagulant.
Other Interactions: When the two drugs were taken concomitantly, decreased concentrations of atovaquone and increased concentrations of rifampin were observed.
Concurrent use of ketoconazole and rifampin has resulted in decreased serum concentrations of both drugs. Concurrent use of rifampin and enalapril has resulted in decreased concentrations of enalaprilat, the active metabolite of enalapril. Dosage adjustments should be made if indicated by the patient's clinical condition.
Concomitant antacid administration may reduce the absorption of rifampin. Daily doses of rifampin should be given at least 1 hour before the ingestion of antacids.
Probenecid and cotrimoxazole have been reported to increase the blood level of rifampin.
When rifampin is given concomitantly with either halothane or isoniazid, the potential for hepatotoxicity is increased. The concomitant use of rifampin and halothane should be avoided. Patients receiving both rifampin and isoniazid should be monitored close for hepatotoxicity.
Plasma concentrations of sulfapyridine may be reduced following the concomitant administration of sulfasalazine and rifampin. This finding may be the result of alteration in the colonic bacteria responsible for the reduction of sulfasalazine to sulfapyridine and mesalamine.
Cross-reactivity and false-positive urine screening tests for opiates have been reported in patients receiving rifampin when using the KIMS (Kinetic Interaction of Microparticles in Solution) method (e.g., Abuscreen OnLine opiates assay; Roche Diagnostic Systems). Confirmatory tests, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, will distinguish rifampin from opiates.
Therapeutic levels of rifampin have been shown to inhibit standard microbiological assays for serum folate and vitamin B12. Thus, alternate assay methods should be considered. Transient abnormalities in liver function tests (e.g., elevation in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and serum transaminases) and reduced biliary excretion of contrast media used for visualization of the gallbladder have also been observed. Therefore, these tests should be performed before the morning dose of rifampin.
Read the Rifadin Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/18/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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