Rifampicin is used together with other medicines to treat a lung infection known as tuberculosis (TB).
This medicine is also used together with other medicines to treat leprosy (a bacterial infection that affects the skin, mucous membrane and nerve).
Rifampicin may also be used to manage certain bacterial infections as decided by your doctor.
Take Rifampicin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine is best taken on an empty stomach with a glass of water, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.
The dose of Rifampicin will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your infection.
Take this medicine at regular intervals. Do not skip any doses. You must complete the entire course of this medicine. If you don't, the infection will not be properly controlled.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take Rifampicin if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine or similar medicines such as rifabutin.
Alert your doctor if you have jaundice as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Rifampicin with medicines used to treat HIV infection, such as saquinavir/ritonavir combination, atazanavir, darunavir unless instructed by your doctor.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- an inherited disorder that may cause skin or nerve problems called “porphyria”
- alcohol abuse or dependence
- poor nutritional status
- diabetes mellitus
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Rifampicin to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
This medicine may interfere with the results of certain laboratory tests. If you are scheduled for a laboratory test, inform your doctor that you are taking this medicine.
Do not wear soft contact lenses during therapy, as this medicine may permanently stain the lenses.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver and kidney function, blood test, chest X-ray) may be done before and during treatment with this medicine.
- Regular monitoring of your drug intake may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
By itself, this medicine cannot cure TB. Make sure that you take the other TB medicines given to you by your doctor.
What must I do to prevent spreading TB to other people?
TB is spread through the air, especially when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Always cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze or laugh. If you use tissue paper, seal it in a plastic bag before you throw it away. If you need to be around people for a long time, be sure to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose to minimise the risk of passing the disease to other people.
You may still be able to infect others while undergoing treatment for TB. Your doctor may tell you to stay at home to avoid passing the disease to other people. You may need to sleep in a bedroom separate from your family members.
Be sure to finish the course of medication according to your doctor's instructions.
Rifampicin may cause any of the following side effects: headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, muscle weakness, pain in the arms or legs, numbness, menstrual disturbances, confusion, and inability to concentrate.
This medicine may cause discolouration (yellow, orange, red, or brown) of the teeth, urine, sweat, tears, phlegm and saliva. This is normal while you are being treated with Rifampicin, do not be alarmed.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- severe diarrhoea possibly with blood in the stools
- small purple spots on the skin, unusual bruising or bleeding
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, swelling in the legs and ankles
This medicine may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Rifampicin with medicines for HIV infection e.g. saquinavir/ritonavir combination, atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, saquinavir, tipranavir unless instructed by your doctor.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenytoin, phenobarbital
- medicines to treat fungal infection e.g. ketoconazole, fluconazole
- medicines for mood disorders e.g. haloperidol, aripiprazole
- medicines for high blood pressure e.g. bisoprolol, diltiazem, enalapril
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin, tacrolimus
- medicines for irregular heartbeat e.g. quinidine, disopyramide, mexiletine, propafenone
- medicines for cancer e.g. tamoxifen, irinotecan, imatinib
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
- other medicines for HIV infection e.g. zidovudine, indinavir, efavirenz
- medicines for hepatitis C infection e.g. daclatasvir
- other antibiotics e.g. chloramphenicol, clarithromycin, co-trimoxazole
- medicines for diabetes e.g. glipizide, rosiglitazone
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. simvastatin
- medicines for depression e.g. amitriptyline, nortriptyline
- theophylline (medicine for asthma)
- praziquantel (medicine used for tapeworm infections)
- atovaquone (medicine used for Pneumocystis pneumonia, a lung infection caused by the fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii)
- probenecid (medicine used to reduce the high level of uric acid in your body)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Rifampicin.
Rifampicin should not be taken with antacids as antacids could reduce the effectiveness of this medicine. If you must take antacids, take between meals at least 1 hour after you have taken this medicine.
Alert your doctor if you are taking birth control pills or other types of hormonal birth control. You may need to add on another type of birth control.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Consuming a large amount of alcohol is damaging to your liver.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Protect from excessive heat.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.