Drug information

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Pronounce:
Other Names:
RIF, Rifadin, Rimactane
Drug Class:
Antimycobacterial (Rifamycins)
What is rifampin?What is rifampin?

What is rifampin?

Rifampin is an antibacterial prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). Rifampin is also FDA-approved to treat people who carry Neisseria meningitidis bacteria but have no symptoms of disease. Treatment with rifampin eliminates the bacteria from their noses and throats. This use of rifampin can prevent the spread of meningitis and other meningococcal diseases caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria.

TB can be 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 with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.

To learn how HIV and TB are connected, read the HIVinfo HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) fact sheet. The fact sheet includes information on the difference between latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB disease.

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

How is rifampin used in people with HIV?

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV and the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-infected Children include recommendations on the uses of rifampin in people with HIV to treat:

  • Latent TB infection to prevent the infection from advancing to active TB disease
  • Active TB disease
  • Certain Bartonella infections (also called bartonellosis), such as infections of the central nervous system, inner lining of the heart (endocardium), and other severe infections
The recommended uses may not always be consistent with FDA-approved uses of rifampin. See the Adult and Pediatric Opportunistic Infection Guidelines for complete information on recommended uses of rifampin in adults and children with HIV. Rifampin may have other recommended uses not listed above.
What should I tell my health care provider before taking rifampin?What should I tell my health care provider before taking rifampin?

What should I tell my health care provider before using rifampin?

Before using rifampin, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentine or any other medicines.
  • About any medical conditions you have or have had, including:
    • Liver problems
    • Diabetes
    • Porphyria (a group of genetic disorders that affect the skin or nervous system)
    • Bleeding problems or blood clotting disorders
    • Vitamin K deficiency
  • About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing pills, difficulty remembering to take pills, or any health conditions that may prevent your use of intravenous (IV) medicines.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of using rifampin during pregnancy. The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV may include other recommendations on the use of rifampin during pregnancy. Please refer to these guidelines for additional information.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Rifampin may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how rifampin works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between rifampin and the other medicines you take.

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

How should I take rifampin?How should I take rifampin?

How should I use rifampin?

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

How should rifampin be stored?How should rifampin be stored?

How should rifampin be stored?

  • Store rifampin capsules at 77°F (25°C). Store the capsules in a dry place and avoid excessive heat.
  • Store rifampin for IV injection at 77°F (25°C), and avoid excessive heat (temperatures above 104°F [40°C]). Protect the medicine from light.
  • Keep rifampin in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use rifampin if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away rifampin that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep rifampin and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about rifampin?Where can I find more information about rifampin?

Where can I find more information about rifampin?

Last Reviewed: June 7, 2021