Rifabutin helps to prevent or slow the spread of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Rifabutin comes as a capsule to take by mouth. Rifabutin usually is taken once or twice a day. Take it on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. If you have difficulty swallowing the capsule, you may empty its contents into applesauce. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take rifabutin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Before taking rifabutin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to rifabutin, niacin, ethionamide (Trecator-SC), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), blood pressure or heart disease medication, diabetes medications, digoxin (Lanoxin), methadone, oral contraceptives, zidovudine (Retrovir), and vitamins. Rifabutin decreases the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives; another form of birth control should be used while taking this drug.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had blood disorders or active tuberculosis.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking rifabutin, call your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Rifabutin may cause side effects. Skin, tears, saliva, sweat, urine, and stools may turn orange-brown; this side effect is normal and will stop when you finish taking this medication. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach or cramps
- altered sense of taste
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- chest pain
- skin rash
- muscle aches
- severe headache
- sore throat
- flu-like symptoms
- vision changes
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to rifabutin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.