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Rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Rifampin is a semi-synthetic antibiotic used to treat infections in animals caused by susceptible fungi. This drug is commonly administered in conjunction with amphotericin B and flucytocine.
  • This drug is a derivative of rifamycin B and works by inhibiting protein synthesis, resulting in death of the fungus.
  • Rifampin is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but veterinarians may legally prescribed it as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Rifadin® (Hoechst Marion Roussel) and Rimactane® (Ciba)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Rifampin

  • Rifampin is most commonly used along with other medications in the treatment of histoplasmosis and aspergillosis.
  • Rifampin is not effective for treating infections caused by viruses, parasites, or molds.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, rifampin may cause side effects in some animals.
  • Rifampin should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Rifampin has a good safety record and adverse reactions are uncommon. Occasionally, some animals develop diarrhea or loose stools from rifampin.
  • Rifampin may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with rifampin. Such drugs include vitamin B12.
  • Some animals may develop red-orange colored urine during treatment. This color change is not harmful to the animal.
  • Rifampin should be used with caution in animals with liver disease.

    How Rifampin Is Supplied

  • Rifampin is available as 150 mg and 300 mg tablets.
  • A powdered form of rifampin is available for aqueous reconstitution and subsequent injection. Each bottle contains 600 mg rifampin.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical oral dose of rifampin is 5 to 10 mg per pound (10 to 20 mg/kg ) given three times daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed otherwise by your veterinarian. Even if your pet appears better, the entire course of treatment should be completed to prevent relapse.

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