Drug information

Other Names:
Mycobutin, RFB
Drug Class:
Antimycobacterial (Rifamycins)
What is rifabutin?What is rifabutin?

What is rifabutin?


Rifabutin is an antibacterial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in people with advanced HIV infection.

Disseminated MAC disease, also called disseminated MAC infection, is an opportunistic infection (OI) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.

How is rifabutin used in people with HIV?How is rifabutin used in people with HIV?

How is rifabutin used in people with HIV?

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV include recommendations on the uses of rifabutin in people with HIV.

Using a medicine as indicated on the medicine label is called on-label use; using the medicine in a different way is called off-label use. Off-label use, for example, can include using a drug for a different disease or medical condition. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used off-label.

The guidelines include recommendations on the following uses of rifabutin:

On-label use:

Off-label uses:
  • Treat:
    • Disseminated MAC disease
    • Latent tuberculosis (TB) infection to prevent the infection from advancing to active TB disease
    • Active TB disease

The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of rifabutin recommended in the guidelines. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking rifabutin?What should I tell my health care provider before taking rifabutin?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking rifabutin?


Before taking rifabutin, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to rifabutin or any other medicines.
  • About any medical conditions you have or have had, for example, liver problems.
  • About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take pills.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether rifabutin can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Rifabutin should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking rifabutin when pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Rifabutin may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how rifabutin works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between rifabutin and the other medicines you take.

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from rifabutin. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.

How should I take rifabutin?How should I take rifabutin?

How should I take rifabutin?

Take rifabutin according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much rifabutin to take and when to take it. Before you start rifabutin and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.

How should rifabutin be stored?How should rifabutin be stored?

How should rifabutin be stored?


  • Store rifabutin capsules at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep rifabutin in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use rifabutin if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away rifabutin that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep rifabutin and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about rifabutin?Where can I find more information about rifabutin?

Where can I find more information about rifabutin?


More information about rifabutin is available:

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Capsule.


Last Reviewed: June 6, 2019