Rifamycins are antibiotics Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are ineffective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill microorganisms or stop them from reproducing... read more that work by suppressing the bacteria's production of genetic material. As a result, the bacteria die.
Rifamycins include the following:
Rifampin, rifabutin, and rifapentine are used in combination with other antibiotics to treat tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) Tuberculosis is a chronic contagious infection caused by the airborne bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs. Tuberculosis is spread mainly when people breathe air... read more and infections related to tuberculosis Infections Caused by Bacteria Related to Tuberculosis (TB) The bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB) are classified as mycobacteria. Many types of mycobacteria exist. Many of the types that do not cause tuberculosis (called nontuberculous mycobacteria)... read more . They have similar side effects.
Rifampin is often used in combination with other antibiotics to treat leprosy Leprosy Leprosy is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis. It results in damage primarily to the peripheral nerves (the nerves outside the brain... read more and artificial valves and joints infected with staphylococci.
Rifaximin is used to treat traveler's diarrhea Traveler’s Diarrhea Traveler’s diarrhea is an infection characterized by diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting that commonly occur in travelers to areas of the world with poor water purification. Traveler's diarrhea can... read more caused by Escherichia coli Escherichia coli Infections Escherichia coli (E. coli) are a group of gram-negative bacteria that normally reside in the intestine of healthy people, but some strains can cause infection in the digestive tract, urinary... read more (E. coli).
(See also Overview of Antibiotics Overview of Antibiotics Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections. They are ineffective against viral infections and most other infections. Antibiotics either kill microorganisms or stop them from reproducing... read more .)
Use of Rifamycins During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Rifamycins are used during pregnancy only when the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks. With rifabutin, no harmful effects on the fetus have been observed in animal studies, but no well-designed studies have been done in pregnant women. With rifampin and rifapentine, harmful effects on the fetus (including birth defects) have been observed in animal studies. (See also Drug Use During Pregnancy Drug Use During Pregnancy More than 50% of pregnant women take prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs or use social drugs (such as tobacco and alcohol) or illicit drugs at some time during pregnancy... read more .)
Use of rifamycins during breastfeeding is not recommended. A decision to stop breastfeeding or to stop rifampin should be made depending on the importance of the drug to the mother's health. (See also Drug Use During Breastfeeding Drug Use During Breastfeeding When mothers who are breastfeeding have to take a drug, they wonder whether they should stop breastfeeding. The answer depends on the following: How much of the drug passes into the milk Whether... read more .)