Why is this medication prescribed?
Rifabutin helps to prevent or slow the spread of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Rifabutin comes as a capsule to take by mouth. Rifabutin usually is taken once or twice a day. Take it on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. If you have difficulty swallowing the capsule, you may empty its contents into applesauce. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take rifabutin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking rifabutin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to rifabutin, niacin, ethionamide (Trecator-SC), or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), blood pressure or heart disease medication, diabetes medications, digoxin (Lanoxin), methadone, oral contraceptives, zidovudine (Retrovir), and vitamins. Rifabutin decreases the effectiveness of some oral contraceptives; another form of birth control should be used while taking this drug.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had blood disorders or active tuberculosis.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking rifabutin, call your doctor.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Rifabutin may cause side effects. Skin, tears, saliva, sweat, urine, and stools may turn orange-brown; this side effect is normal and will stop when you finish taking this medication. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach or cramps
- altered sense of taste
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- chest pain
- skin rash
- muscle aches
- severe headache
- sore throat
- flu-like symptoms
- vision changes
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to rifabutin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.