What Is Xifaxan (Rifaximin)?
Xifaxan is the brand name of the prescription drug rifaximin, which is used to treat travelers' diarrhea that's caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli).
The drug is also used to prevent a condition known as hepatic encephalopathy, which occurs when your liver doesn't work normally.
It's sometimes also given as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Xifaxan is an antibiotic that works by killing bacteria and preventing their growth.
The medicine is used to treat bacterial infections in the intestines only. It passes through the stomach and intestines without being absorbed into the bloodstream.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Xifaxan in 2004. It's manufactured by Salix Pharmaceuticals.
This medicine isn't effective for all forms of traveler's diarrhea. Your healthcare provider will decide if Xifaxan is right for you.
Before taking Xifaxan, tell your doctor if you have:
- Diarrhea with fever
- Watery or bloody diarrhea
- Liver disease
- Allergies to any medications
This drug won't treat viral infections such as the common cold or flu.
Call your physician if your symptoms don't improve or worsen after 24 hours of taking Xifaxan.
Antibiotics such as Xifaxan may increase your risk of developing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, a serious form of infectious colitis caused by C. diff bacteria.
Tell your doctor if your diarrhea continues after you stop using Xifaxan.
Take this medicine for the entire amount of time that your doctor prescribes it. Your symptoms might improve before your infection clears.
Don't give Xifaxan to a child who is younger than 12.
Pregnancy and Xifaxan
It's not known whether Xifaxan will harm an unborn baby.
Tell your doctor if you're pregnant or might become pregnant before using this medicine.
It's also uncertain if the drug passes into breast milk or could hurt a breastfeeding baby. You shouldn't breastfeed while taking Xifaxan.
Xifaxan Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Xifaxan
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects are severe or don't go away:
- Stomach pain or nausea
- Swelling of the hands, feet, or midsection
- Flatulence or gas
- Feeling like your bowel isn't completely empty
- Feeling like you need to empty your bowel urgently
Serious Side Effects of Xifaxan
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Diarrhea that's watery or bloody
- Signs of an allergic reaction, which may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking before taking Xifaxan, especially:
Your dose of Xifaxan will depend on your medical condition and response to treatment.
The drug comes as a tablet to take by mouth.
Follow your doctor's instructions carefully when using this medicine. Don't take more or less Xifaxan than is recommended.
The typical dose for people with travelers' diarrhea is one 200 milligram (mg) tablet three times a day for three days.
The usual dose for people with hepatic encephalopathy is one 550 mg tablet two times a day.
You can take Xifaxan with or without food.
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
You can get in touch with a poison control center at 800-222-1222.
Missed Dose of Xifaxan
If you miss a dose of Xifaxan, take it as soon as you remember.
However, skip the missed dose if it's almost time for your next dose.
Don't take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
Video: Day 2 on the drug Xifaxan for SIBO
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