Rifampin (Rifadin®)

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Rifampin (rye-FAMP-in) is a medicine used to treat tuberculosis (TB) and to kill certain bacteria (germs) that are carried in the nose and throat. People who have some of these germs may not be sick. These people are called carriers. These carriers can infect people who are not able to fight off the infection. This medicine is also used to prevent disease in people who are in close contact with patients infected with certain bacteria or germs. It is important to start this medicine right away.


  • Read the label every time before you give this medicine.
  • Wash and dry your hands before handling the medicine.
  • Give the exact amount of medicine as ordered by your doctor.
  • If the medicine is a liquid, use a pediatric measuring device (available at the pharmacy) to measure the exact dose. Do not measure liquid medicines in kitchen spoons. Do not let your child measure their own medicine.
  • Stay with your child until they have swallowed the dose of medicine.
  • This medicine should be given 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating because food can make it less effective.
  • It is very important to give all the medicine as it is ordered.
  • If this medicine is a liquid, it should be kept in the refrigerator. Shake it well before measuring the dose.
  • If this medicine is a capsule and your child cannot take it, open the capsule and mix the powder in a small amount (such as 1 or 2 tablespoons) of applesauce, pudding or other food. Make sure the child eats all of this food.

What to Do If You Forget to Give a Dose

Give the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Give the remaining doses at evenly spaced times during that day. Do not give 2 doses at one time. Then start the regular schedule the next day.

What to Do If a Dose Is Vomited

  • If your child gags or chokes and spits out the dose before swallowing it, give the same amount once more.
  • If the medicine is vomited (thrown up) right after you give it, wait 10 to 20 minutes then give the same amount one more time. If the vomiting continues, call your doctor.

Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Leg cramps
  • Aching muscles and joints
  • Diarrhea
  • The color of urine, saliva, tears, sweat or stool can change to a red, orange or brown color.

What to Do About Side Effects

  • If you notice an orange-red color to your child's urine, saliva, sweat, tears or stool, do not worry. This is not harmful and is to be expected.
  • Side effects are not common and usually go away gradually.

Special Cautions for Young Women

  • Birth control pills do not work during the month the person is taking rifampin. Unplanned pregnancy may occur. Some other form of birth control should be used until the next menstrual period. Ask your doctor for advice about choosing another form of birth control.
  • This medicine may cause problems during pregnancy. A patient should tell the doctor if she thinks she might be pregnant, before she begins taking this medicine.
  • This medicine is passed in breast milk. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Storage of Medicine

  • Store all medicine out of children's reach.
  • If the medicine is a liquid, keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Always keep medicine in the labeled container it came in.

Safety Tips and Other Information

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if your child is taking any other medicine (Picture 1). Many medicines should not be given with Rifampin.
  • Tell your doctor about any medical conditions your child may have.
  • Your child should not drink alcohol. Combining this medicine with alcohol makes it less effective. Some cold medicines and cough syrups contain alcohol. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving non-prescription medicines.
  • Tell your child's teacher, school nurse, school coach and baby sitter your child is taking this medicine and what side effects to watch for.
  • Do not stop giving this medicine or change the amount given without first talking with your child's doctor. All of this medicine must be taken to destroy the bacteria or to prevent the disease.
  • Your child should not wear soft contact lenses while taking this medicine. Rifampin can discolor or permanently stain contact lenses. Your child should switch to their eye glasses while taking this medicine.
  • If dizziness or drowsiness occurs, your child should not ride a bike or motor bike, climb trees or use machinery such as a lawn mower or tractor.
  • Do not give this medicine to anyone other than the person for whom it was prescribed.
  • If your child sees a new doctor or goes to the emergency room, be sure to tell the doctor or emergency room staff that the child is taking this medicine.
  • Bring all your child's medicines with you in the original bottles whenever your child sees a doctor, goes to an emergency room or is admitted to the hospital. This helps doctors who may not know your child.
  • If your child takes too much of this medicine, or if someone else takes this medicine, first call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY 614-228-2272). They will tell you what to do.
  • When the medicine is no longer needed, mix the leftover medicine with an unwanted material, like coffee grounds, and place the mixture into a container or a bag that will not leak. Throw the container away in the trash where children and pets cannot reach it.

Follow-Up Appointments

Your child's follow-up appointment is on (date) ______________ at (time)_____________.

Important Phone Numbers

If you have any questions, please call:

  • Your child's doctor ______________ phone ______________
  • Your pharmacist ______________ phone _______________

Rifampin (Rifadin) (PDF) 

HH-V-56 11/80, Revised 8/19 | Copyright 1980, Nationwide Children’s Hospital