Rifampicin or rifampin is an antibiotic drug used to treat and prevent several diseases caused by bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis . For treatment, rifampicin usually must be combined with other antibiotic drugs.

Rifampicin works by killing the bacteria that cause infection. In addition to tuberculosis, this drug is also used to treat leprosy, brucellosis , Legionnaire's disease, and severe Staphyloccus aureus infections .

In addition to treatment, rifampicin can also be used to prevent meningitis caused by infection with the Neisseria meningitidis or Haemophilus influenza bacteria in people who have close contact with sufferers.

Rifampicin trademarks : Corifam 450, Curtube 3 FDC Paed, Merimac 450, Pro TB 2 Kid, Pro TB 4, RIF 450, Rifabiotic, Rifanh, Rifastar, Rimactane, Rimactazid, Rifampicin, Rifampicin 150 mg/Isoniazid 150 mg, Rifamtibi, Rimcure Paed, TB RIF

What is Rifampicin

class Prescription drug
Category Antibiotics
Benefit Prevent and treat bacterial infections
Consumed by Adults and children
Rifampicin for pregnant and lactating women Category C:  Studies in animal studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus, but there have been no controlled studies in pregnant women. The drug should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus. Rifampicin may be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.
Drug form Capsules, caplets, tablets, chewable tablets, syrup

Precautions Before Taking Rifampicin

Rifampicin should not be taken carelessly. Take note of the following:

  • Do not take rifampicin if you have an allergy to this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or currently have diabetes, liver disease , HIV infection, porphyria, kidney disease, adrenal gland disease, bleeding disorders, malnutrition, vitamin K deficiency, or  alcohol addiction .
  • Tell the doctor if your child is taking other medications, including supplements and herbal products, to avoid drug interactions.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking birth control pills before taking rifampicin, because rifampicin can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills to delay pregnancy.
  • If you are planning to undergo certain medical procedures, such as surgery or dental surgery, tell your doctor that you are taking it
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to be immunized with live bacterial vaccines, such as typhoid vaccine, because rifampicin may decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • Immediately see a doctor if an allergic drug reaction or overdose occurs after taking rifampicin.

Dosage and Rules for Using Rifampicin

The following are common dosages for using rifampicin for several conditions:

Condition : Tuberculosis

  • Adult : 8–12 mg/kg, once daily. The maximum dose for patients weighing <50 kg is 450 mg per day, while for patients weighing ≥50 kg is 600 mg per day.
  • A children: 10–20 mg/kg per day. The maximum dose is 600 mg per day.

Treatment of tuberculosis with rifampicin must be combined with other antituberculosis drugs.

Condition: Leprosy

  • Adult: 600 mg once a month. Alternative dose of 10 mg/kg, once a month. The maximum dose for patients weighing <50 kg is 450 mg, while for patients weighing 50 kg is 600 mg.

Treatment of leprosy (leprosy) with rifampicin must be combined with other antileprosy drugs.

Conditions: Brucellosis, Legionnaire's disease, severe Staphyloccus aureus infection

  • Adult: 600–1200 mg, 2–4 times daily.

Condition: Prevention of Neisseria meningitidis infection

  • Adult: 600 mg twice daily for 2 days.
  • Children aged <1 month : 5 mg/kg, 2 times a day, for 2 days.
  • Children 1 month old: 10 mg/kg per day, for 2 days.

Condition: Prevention of Haemophilus influenza infection

  • Adult: 20 mg/kg, 1 time per day, for 4 days. Maximum dose of 600 mg.
  • Children <1 month of age: 10 mg/kg per day, for 4 days.

How to Take Rifampicin Correctly

Use rifampicin according to doctor's advice or information printed on the package. Rifampicin should be taken on an empty stomach, ie 1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating.

If stomach discomfort or heartburn appears after taking the drug, rifampicin can be taken with food or antacids. However, do not take antacids containing aluminum within 1 hour of taking rifampicin.

Take rifampicin along with a glass of water. If it is difficult to take rifampicin capsules, open the capsule and mix the contents of the capsule into 1 tablespoon of honey or pudding. Immediately consume the mixture, then drink water.

If you are taking rifampicin in syrup form, shake the bottle first. Use the measuring spoon available in the package so that the dose consumed is correct.

For those of you who are taking rifampicin in chewable tablet form, the tablet must be chewed first and not swallowed whole.

For effective treatment, take rifampicin at the same time every day. Make sure there is sufficient time between one dose and the next. Do not stop treatment prematurely, even though complaints or symptoms have improved.

If you forget to take rifampicin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearing time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not double the dose of rifampicin to make up for a missed dose, unless directed by your doctor.

While undergoing treatment with rifampicin, you may be asked to have medical examinations, such as a complete blood test, regularly. Follow the control schedule determined by the doctor for maximum treatment results.

Store rifampicin at room temperature, dry place, and avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Keep this drug out of reach of children.

Rifampicin Interactions with Other Drugs

The following interactions can occur when rifampicin is used with certain drugs:

  • Increased risk of serious liver damage when used with saquinavir or ritonavir
  • Decreased levels and effectiveness of atazanavir, darunavir , fosamprenavir, or tipranavir in treating HIV infection
  • Decreased levels and effectiveness of praziquantel
  • Increased risk of side effects, especially bleeding, when used with cefazolin and other cephalosporin class antibiotics
  • Decreased effectiveness of birth control pills in preventing pregnancy
  • Decreased effectiveness of antiarrhythmic , antifungal, anticonvulsant , corticosteroid , antidiabetic, immunosuppressant , sleeping pills/sedatives, antipsychotics , and beta blockers
  • Decreased effectiveness of digoxin , ondasetron, simvastatin, enalapril , theophylline, losartan , and quinine
  • Reduced effectiveness of rifampicin when taken with aluminum-containing antacids
  • Increased risk of rifampicin side effects when used with  probenecid or co- trimoxazole

Side Effects and Dangers of Rifampicin

Side effects that may arise after taking rifampicin are:

  • The color of urine, saliva, sweat, tears and teeth becomes reddish
  • Pain or burning sensation in the upper abdomen ( heartburn ), bloating, or loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness or pain in the arms or legs
  • Balance disorders
  • Numb
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in menstrual schedule

Consult a doctor if the side effects above do not subside or even get worse. See a doctor immediately if you have an allergic drug reaction or more serious side effects, such as:

  • Severe abdominal pain accompanied by bloody diarrhea
  • Chest pain , cough, or shortness of breath
  • Dizzy to the point of fainting
  • Easy bruising or bleeding, such as a nosebleed or bleeding gums
  • Heart pounding or feeling like it's shaking
  • Flu symptoms, such as fever, chills, body aches, headache, weakness, nausea and vomiting
  • Liver disorders, characterized by upper abdominal pain, fatigue, loss of appetite,  jaundice , dark urine, or pale white stools
Back to blog