Rifampin Side Effects

Common Side Effects

For many medications, the prescribing information carefully explains the exact percentage of side effects that were seen in clinical trials. However, the prescribing information for almost all older medications, including rifampin, is more vague. Although side effects are listed in the prescribing information, there are no details on the percentages of people who experienced the side effects. Therefore, it can be difficult to know exactly how common the side effects of such medications may be.
Based on the available information, some of the possible bothersome rifampin side effects may include:
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal (stomach) discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gassiness
  • Abdominal (stomach) cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Dizziness
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Numbness
  • Problems with vision
  • Changes in menstruation (abnormal periods) in women
  • Itching (with or without a rash)
  • Sudden warmth and redness of the face, neck, or upper chest area (flushing)
  • Inflammation of the conjunctive, the membrane that lines the eyelid and white part of the eye (conjunctivitis or pink eye)
  • Sore mouth and tongue.
In addition, some side effects have been reported when rifampin was taken intermittently (not daily), or restarted after a period of not using the drug. Side effects associated with intermittent rifampin use include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Bone pain.

Final Thoughts

You may experience some or none of the rifampin side effects listed in this article. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have problems with a medicine that you have never tried.
Therefore, make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you develop any adverse reactions while using the drug or if something "just does not seem right." While it may not be a side effect of rifampin, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.

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