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Rifadin (Rifampin) - Side Effects and Adverse Reactions




Heartburn, epigastric distress, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, flatulence, cramps, and diarrhea have been noted in some patients. Although Clostridium difficile has been shown in vitro to be sensitive to rifampin, pseudomembranous colitis has been reported with the use of rifampin (and other broad spectrum antibiotics). Therefore, it is important to consider this diagnosis in patients who develop diarrhea in association with antibiotic use.


Transient abnormalities in liver function tests (e.g., elevations in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, serum transaminases) have been observed. Rarely, hepatitis or a shock-like syndrome with hepatic involvement and abnormal liver function tests has been reported.


Thrombocytopenia has occurred primarily with high dose intermittent therapy, but has also been noted after resumption of interrupted treatment. It rarely occurs during well supervised daily therapy. This effect is reversible if the drug is discontinued as soon as purpura occurs. Cerebral hemorrhage and fatalities have been reported when rifampin administration has been continued or resumed after the appearance of purpura.

Rare reports of disseminated intravascular coagulation have been observed.

Leukopenia, hemolytic anemia, and decreased hemoglobin have been observed.

Agranulocytosis has been reported very rarely.

Central Nervous System

Headache, fever, drowsiness, fatigue, ataxia, dizziness, inability to concentrate, mental confusion, behavioral changes, muscular weakness, pains in extremities, and generalized numbness have been observed.

Psychoses have been rarely reported.

Rare reports of myopathy have also been observed.


Visual disturbances have been observed.


Menstrual disturbances have been observed.

Rare reports of adrenal insufficiency in patients with compromised adrenal function have been observed.


Elevations in BUN and serum uric acid have been reported. Rarely, hemolysis, hemoglobinuria, hematuria, interstitial nephritis, acute tubular necrosis, renal insufficiency, and acute renal failure have been noted. These are generally considered to be hypersensitivity reactions. They usually occur during intermittent therapy or when treatment is resumed following intentional or accidental interruption of a daily dosage regimen, and are reversible when rifampin is discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted.


Cutaneous reactions are mild and self-limiting and do not appear to be hypersensitivity reactions. Typically, they consist of flushing and itching with or without a rash. More serious cutaneous reactions which may be due to hypersensitivity occur but are uncommon.

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Occasionally, pruritus, urticaria, rash, pemphigoid reaction, erythema multiforme including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, vasculitis, eosinophilia, sore mouth, sore tongue, and conjunctivitis have been observed.

Anaphylaxis has been reported rarely.


Edema of the face and extremities have been reported. Other reactions which have occurred with intermittent dosage regimens include "flu syndrome" (such as episodes of fever, chills, headache, dizziness, and bone pain), shortness of breath, wheezing, decrease in blood pressure and shock. The "flu syndrome" may also appear if rifampin is taken irregularly by the patient or if daily administration is resumed after a drug free interval.


Below is a sample of reports where side effects / adverse reactions may be related to Rifadin. The information is not vetted and should not be considered as verified clinical evidence.

Possible Rifadin side effects / adverse reactions in 63 year old female

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from France on 2011-10-05

Patient: 63 year old female

Reactions: Jaundice, Blood Alkaline Phosphatase Increased, Hyperbilirubinaemia, Cholestasis, Arthritis Bacterial

Adverse event resulted in: hospitalization

Suspect drug(s):
    Administration route: Oral
    Indication: Prophylaxis
    Start date: 2011-07-15
    End date: 2011-08-22

    Administration route: Oral
    Indication: Prophylaxis
    Start date: 2011-07-15
    End date: 2011-08-01

Other drugs received by patient: Aldactone; Bisoprolol Fumarate; Clindamycin; Potassium Chloride; Amiodarone HCL; Esomeprazole Sodium; Levothyroxine Sodium

Possible Rifadin side effects / adverse reactions in male

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from Japan on 2011-10-11

Patient: male

Reactions: Death, Hepatic Function Abnormal, Liver Disorder

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):
    Indication: Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Ethambutol Hydrochloride
    Indication: Pulmonary Tuberculosis

    Indication: Pulmonary Tuberculosis

    Indication: Pulmonary Tuberculosis

    Indication: Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Possible Rifadin side effects / adverse reactions in 76 year old male

Reported by a physician from Ireland on 2011-10-18

Patient: 76 year old male

Reactions: Acute Hepatic Failure, Hepatitis

Adverse event resulted in: death, hospitalization

Suspect drug(s):
    Administration route: Oral
    Indication: Psychotic Disorder
    Start date: 2009-04-03

    Administration route: Oral
    Indication: Depression
    Start date: 2009-04-03

    Administration route: Oral
    Indication: Duodenal Ulcer
    Start date: 2009-04-03

    Indication: Bacterial Infection
    Start date: 2009-05-22

    Administration route: Oral
    Indication: Bacterial Infection
    Start date: 2009-05-22
    End date: 2009-05-27

Fucidine CAP
    Indication: Bacterial Infection
    Start date: 2009-05-22

Augmentin '125'
    Dosage: 875/125 mg
    Indication: Bacterial Infection
    Start date: 2009-05-27

See index of all Rifadin side effect reports >>

Drug label data at the top of this Page last updated: 2014-06-12

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