Rifampin is indicated for the treatment of asymptomatic carriers of Neisseria meningitidis to eliminate meningococci from the nasopharynx. Rifampin is not indicated for the treatment of meningococcal infection because of the possibility of the rapid emergence of resistant organisms (See WARNINGS .)
Rifampin should not be used indiscriminately, and, therefore, diagnostic laboratory procedures, including serotyping and susceptibility testing, should be performed for establishment of the carrier state and the correct treatment. So that the usefulness of rifampin in the treatment of asymptomatic meningococcal carriers is preserved, the drug should be used only when the risk of meningococcal disease is high.
To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of rifampin and other antibacterial drugs, rifampin should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
Rifampin capsules are contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to rifampin or any of the components, or to any of the rifamycins. (See WARNINGS .)
Rifampin is contraindicated in patients who are also receiving ritonavir-boosted saquinavir due to an increased risk of severe hepatocellular toxicity. (See PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions.)
Rifampin is contraindicated in patients who are also receiving atazanavir, darunavir, fosamprenavir, saquinavir, or tipranavir due to the potential of rifampin to substantially decrease plasma concentrations of these antiviral drugs, which may result in loss of antiviral efficacy and/or development of viral resistance.
Rifampin is contraindicated in patients receiving praziquantel since therapeutically effective blood levels of praziquantel may not be achieved. In patients receiving rifampin who need immediate treatment with praziquantel alternative agents should be considered. However, if treatment with praziquantel is necessary, rifampin should be discontinued 4 weeks before administration of praziquantel. Treatment with rifampin can then be restarted one day after completion of praziquantel treatment.
Hepatotoxicity of hepatocellular, cholestatic, and mixed patterns has been reported in patients treated with rifampin. Severity ranged from asymptomatic elevations in liver enzymes, isolated jaundice/hyperbilirubinemia, symptomatic self-limited hepatitis to fulminant liver failure and death. Severe hepatic dysfunction including fatalities were reported in patients with liver disease and in patients taking rifampin with other hepatotoxic agents.
Monitor for symptoms and clinical/laboratory signs of liver injury, especially if treatment is prolonged or given with other hepatotoxic drugs. Patients with impaired liver function should be given rifampin only in cases of necessity and then under strict medical supervision. In these patients, careful monitoring of liver function should be done prior to therapy and then every 2 to 4 weeks during therapy. If signs of hepatic damage occur or worsen, discontinue rifampin. Rifampin has enzyme-inducing properties, including induction of delta amino levulinic acid synthetase. Isolated reports have associated porphyria exacerbation with rifampin administration.
The possibility of rapid emergence of resistant meningococci restricts the use of rifampin capsules to short-term treatment of the asymptomatic carrier state. Rifampin capsules are not to be used for the treatment of meningococcal disease.
Systemic hypersensitivity reactions were reported with rifampin capsules administration. Signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions may include fever, rash, urticaria, angioedema, hypotension, acute bronchospasm, conjunctivitis, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, elevated liver transaminases or flu-like syndrome (weakness, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, chills, aches, itching, sweats, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, syncope, palpitations). Manifestations of hypersensitivity, such as fever, lymphadenopathy or laboratory abnormalities (including eosinophilia, liver abnormalities) may be present even though rash is not evident. Monitor patients receiving rifampin capsules for signs and/or symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions. If these signs or symptoms occur, discontinue rifampin capsules and administer supportive measures.
Cases of severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR) such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) syndrome have been reported with rifampin. If symptoms or signs of severe cutaneous adverse reactions develop, discontinue rifampin capsules immediately and institute appropriate therapy.
Rifampin may cause vitamin K–dependent coagulation disorders and bleeding (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Monitor coagulation tests during rifampin treatment (prothrombin time and other coagulation tests) in patients at risk of vitamin K deficiency (such as those with chronic liver disease, poor nutritional status, on prolonged antibacterial drugs or anticoagulants). Consider discontinuation of rifampin capsules if abnormal coagulation tests and/or bleeding occur. Supplemental vitamin K administration should be considered when appropriate.
Postmarketing reports suggest that concomitant administration of high doses of cefazolin and rifampin may prolong the prothrombin time, leading to severe vitamin K–dependent coagulation disorders that may be life-threatening or fatal. Avoid concomitant use of cefazolin and rifampin in patients at increased risk for bleeding. If no alternative treatment options are available, closely monitor prothrombin time and other coagulation tests, and administer vitamin K as indicated.
Prescribing rifampin in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
For the treatment of tuberculosis, rifampin is usually administered on a daily basis. Doses of rifampin greater than 600 mg given once or twice weekly have resulted in a higher incidence of adverse reactions, including the “flu syndrome” (fever, chills, and malaise), hematopoietic reactions (leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, or acute hemolytic anemia), cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and hepatic reactions, shortness of breath, shock, anaphylaxis, and renal failure. Recent studies indicate that regimens using twice-weekly doses of rifampin 600 mg plus isoniazid 15 mg/kg are much better tolerated.
Rifampin is not recommended for intermittent therapy; the patient should be cautioned against intentional or accidental interruption of the daily dosage regimen since rare renal hypersensitivity reactions have been reported when therapy was resumed in such cases.
Rifampin has enzyme induction properties that can enhance the metabolism of endogenous substrates including adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones, and vitamin D. Rifampin and isoniazid have been reported to alter vitamin D metabolism. In some cases, reduced levels of circulating 25-hydroxy vitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D have been accompanied by reduced serum calcium and phosphate, and elevated parathyroid hormone.
Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including rifampin should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When rifampin is prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by rifampin or other antibacterial drugs in the future.
The patient should be told that rifampin may produce a discoloration (yellow, orange, red, brown) of the teeth, urine, sweat, sputum, and tears, and the patient should be forewarned of this. Soft contact lenses may be permanently stained.
Rifampin is a well characterized and potent inducer of drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters and might therefore decrease concomitant drug exposure and efficacy (see DRUG INTERACTIONS). Therefore, patients should be advised not to take any other medication without medical advice.
The patient should be advised that the reliability of oral or other systemic hormonal contraceptives may be affected; consideration should be given to using alternative contraceptive measures.
Patients should be instructed to take rifampin either 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal with a full glass of water.
Patients should be instructed to notify their physician immediately if they experience any of the following: rash with fever or blisters, with or without peeling skin, itching, or swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, malaise, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, darkened urine, yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes, light-colored bowel movements, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and pain or swelling of the joints.
Advise patients to abstain from alcohol, hepatotoxic medications or herbal products while taking rifampin.
Compliance with the full course of therapy must be emphasized, and the importance of not missing any doses must be stressed.
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