Rifampin for Meningitis

Rifampin (Rifadin®) is a prescription antibiotic approved to treat tuberculosis. It is also licensed to get rid of Neisseria meningitides (the bacteria that causes meningococcal infections, such as meningitis) in people who have this bacteria in their nose and throat but do not have symptoms of a meningococcal infection.
Rifampin belongs to a group of medications known as rifamycins, and works to kill certain bacteria by blocking the action of an enzyme the bacteria need to survive.
When using rifampin for meningococcal meningitis (often referred to as just meningitis), a potentially life-threatening infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, rifampin can help eliminate Neisseria meningitides from the nose and throat of people who are carriers and do not have symptoms. However, it is not approved to treat people who actually have meningococcal meningitis or other meningococcal disease.
(Click What Is Rifampin Used For? for more details on using this medicine for meningitis and tuberculosis. This Web page also talks about whether rifampin is safe for children and lists possible off-label uses.)
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