In association with the decreased incidence of bacteremia, patients on rifabutin showed reductions in the signs and symptoms of disseminated MAC disease, including fever, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, anemia, and hepatic dysfunction.
The one-year survival rates in Study 023 were 77% for the group receiving rifabutin and 77% for the placebo group. In Study 027, the one-year survival rates were 77% for the group receiving rifabutin and 70% for the placebo group.
These differences were not statistically significant.
Rifabutin inhibits DNA-dependent RNA polymerase in susceptible strains of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis but not in mammalian cells. In resistant strains of E. coli , rifabutin, like rifampin, did not inhibit this enzyme. It is not known whether rifabutin inhibits DNA-dependent RNA polymerase in Mycobacterium avium or in M. intracellulare which comprise M. avium complex (MAC).
For specific information regarding susceptibility test interpretive criteria and associated test methods and quality control standards recognized by FDA for this drug, please see: https://www.fda.gov/STIC.
Rifabutin capsules must not be administered for MAC prophylaxis to patients with active tuberculosis. Patients who develop complaints consistent with active tuberculosis while on prophylaxis with rifabutin should be evaluated immediately, so that those with active disease may be given an effective combination regimen of anti-tuberculosis medications. Administration of rifabutin as a single agent to patients with active tuberculosis is likely to lead to the development of tuberculosis that is resistant both to rifabutin and to rifampin.
There is no evidence that rifabutin is an effective prophylaxis against M. tuberculosis. Patients requiring prophylaxis against both M. tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium complex may be given isoniazid and rifabutin concurrently.
Tuberculosis in HIV-positive patients is common and may present with atypical or extrapulmonary findings. Patients are likely to have a nonreactive purified protein derivative (PPD) despite active disease. In addition to chest X-ray and sputum culture, the following studies may be useful in the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the HIV-positive patient: blood culture, urine culture, or biopsy of a suspicious lymph node.
MAC Treatment with Clarithromycin
When rifabutin is used concomitantly with clarithromycin for MAC treatment, a decreased dose of rifabutin is recommended due to the increase in plasma concentrations of rifabutin (see Precautions–Drug Interactions, Table 2).
Hypersensitivity and Related Reactions
Hypersensitivity reactions may occur in patients receiving rifamycins. Signs and symptoms of these reactions may include hypotension, urticaria, angioedema, acute bronchospasm, conjunctivitis, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia or flu-like syndrome (weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, chills, aches, rash, itching, sweats, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, syncope, palpitations). There have been reports of anaphylaxis with the use of rifamycins.
Monitor patients receiving rifabutin therapy for signs and/or symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions. If these symptoms occur, administer supportive measures and discontinue rifabutin.
Due to the possible occurrence of uveitis, patients should also be carefully monitored when rifabutin is given in combination with clarithromycin (or other macrolides) and/or fluconazole and related compounds (see Precautions–Drug Interactions, Table 2). If uveitis is suspected, the patient should be referred to an ophthalmologist and, if considered necessary, treatment with rifabutin should be suspended (see also Adverse Reactions).
Clostridioides difficile Associated Diarrhea
Clostridioides difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including rifabutin capsules, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibacterial use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibacterial use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibacterial treatment of C. difficile , and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reactions
There have been reports of severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR), such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), and acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP) associated with rifabutin (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).
If patients develop a skin rash they should be monitored closely, and rifabutin discontinued if lesions progress. Specifically, for DRESS, a multi-system potential life-threatening SCAR, time to onset of the first symptoms may be prolonged. DRESS is a clinical diagnosis, and its clinical presentation remains the basis for decision making. An early withdrawal of rifabutin is essential because of the syndrome’s mortality and visceral involvement (e.g., liver, bone marrow or kidney).
Protease Inhibitor Drug Interaction
Protease inhibitors act as substrates or inhibitors of CYP3A4 mediated metabolism. Therefore, due to significant drug-drug interactions between protease inhibitors and rifabutin, their concomitant use should be based on the overall assessment of the patient and a patient-specific drug profile. The concomitant use of protease inhibitors may require at least a 50% reduction in rifabutin dose, and depending on the protease inhibitor, an adjustment of the antiviral drug dose. Increased monitoring for adverse events is recommended when using these drug combinations (see Precautions–Drug Interactions). For further recommendations, please refer to current, official product monographs of the protease inhibitor or contact the specific manufacturer.
Because treatment with rifabutin capsules may be associated with neutropenia, and more rarely thrombocytopenia, physicians should consider obtaining hematologic studies periodically in patients receiving prophylaxis with rifabutin.
Patients should be advised of the signs and symptoms of both MAC and tuberculosis, and should be instructed to consult their physicians if they develop new complaints consistent with either of these diseases. In addition, since rifabutin may rarely be associated with myositis and uveitis, patients should be advised to notify their physicians if they develop signs or symptoms suggesting either of these disorders.
Urine, feces, saliva, sputum, perspiration, tears, and skin may be colored brown-orange with rifabutin and some of its metabolites. Soft contact lenses may be permanently stained. Patients to be treated with rifabutin should be made aware of these possibilities.
Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibacterials which usually ends when the antibacterial is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibacterials, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibacterial. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible.
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