Rifampin (RMP)

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What is Rifampin (RMP)?

  • Rifampin (RMP) is an antibiotic medicine used to prevent or treat tuberculosis (TB).
  • TB bacteria are very strong and are hard to get rid of.
  • You will need to take this medicine for 4 - 6 months in order to destroy all the TB bacteria and cure TB disease. Your doctor will decide exactly how many months you will need to take the medicine.

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How do I take this medicine?

  • It is very important that you take the medicine every day at the same time or as instructed by your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking the medicine unless your doctor tells you to stop.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible, but never take two doses at one time or closely together.
  • Try to take the medicine on an empty stomach. If it upsets your stomach, take it after meals.
  • If you take antacids, take the RMP one hour before or after the antacid.
  • Store RMP in a cool, dry place (not in the bathroom). Keep it out of the reach of children.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine. You could damage your liver.
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy; use caution when driving or using machinery.

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What are some side effects I should watch for?

  • Most people have no problems while taking RMP.
  • RMP may cause:
    • stomach upset
    • heartburn
    • nausea
    • menstrual changes (“period”)
    • headache
    • drowsiness or mild dizziness
    • your tears, saliva, urine and stool may turn orange or red. This will not hurt you. You should not wear contact lenses while taking this medicine as they will be damaged.
  • These effects should disappear as your body adjusts to the medicine.
  • Call your doctor right away if any of these side effects continue or worsen.

In addition call your doctor right away if any of the following appear while you are taking this medicine:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • swelling
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing
  • blurred vision
  • very dark urine
  • change in the amount of urine
  • fever lasting 3 days or more
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • persistent nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • confusion
  • unusual behaviour
  • tiredness
  • yellow eyes and skin
  • bruise or bleed easily
  • small red spots on the skin
  • white patches in the mouth
  • a change in colour and/or odour of vaginal discharge

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What else should I tell my doctor?

  • Tell your doctor about any health problems you may have before starting this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor about any allergies you may have before starting this medicine.
  • Let your doctor know what medicine you are already taking, including medicine to control diabetes.
  • Let your doctor know about any over the counter medicine or herbal products you may be taking.
  • Do not start or stop any medicine before talking to your doctor. This includes medicines you buy over the counter and herbal products.
  • Before having surgery, tell your doctor or your dentist using this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Birth control pills may not work as well while you are on this medicine. You will need to discuss other methods of birth control with your doctor.
  • If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking this medicine.

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Tips when taking your medicine

  • Take your medicine on the same day of the week or at the same time each day, for example:
    • Before going to bed
    • First thing in the morning
  • Use a weekly pill container.
  • Mark off each day you take your pills on a calendar.
  • Ask a family member or friend to remind you.
  • While you are taking this medicine, you will need to see your doctor regularly.
  • You will also need to have regular blood tests to check your liver function.
  • A nurse from the Health Department will contact you on a regular basis.

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Who do I talk to if I have questions about RMP?

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