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Drugs reference index «rifabutin»

rifabutin (Oral route)


Commonly used brand name(s):

In the U.S.

  • Mycobutin

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Capsule

Therapeutic Class: Antitubercular

Chemical Class: Rifamycin

Uses For rifabutin

Rifabutin is used to help prevent Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease from causing disease throughout the body in patients with advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. MAC is an infection caused by two similar bacteria, Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellulare. Mycobacterium avium is more common in patients with HIV infection. MAC also may occur in other patients whose immune system is not working properly. Symptoms of MAC in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) include fever, night sweats, chills, weight loss, and weakness. Rifabutin will not work for colds, flu, or most other infections.

Rifabutin is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, rifabutin is used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

  • Treatment of tuberculosis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Before Using rifabutin

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For rifabutin, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to rifabutin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Studies on rifabutin have only been done in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of rifabutin in children with use in other age groups. However, studies are being done to determine the best dose for children.


Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of rifabutin in the elderly with use in other age groups, rifabutin is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.


Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersBAnimal studies have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus, however, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR animal studies have shown an adverse effect, but adequate studies in pregnant women have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Using rifabutin with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Ranolazine
  • Voriconazole

Using rifabutin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Amprenavir
  • Atazanavir
  • Clarithromycin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Darunavir
  • Dasatinib
  • Delavirdine
  • Efavirenz
  • Erlotinib
  • Etravirine
  • Fluconazole
  • Fosamprenavir
  • Indinavir
  • Irinotecan
  • Itraconazole
  • Ixabepilone
  • Lapatinib
  • Lopinavir
  • Maraviroc
  • Nelfinavir
  • Nilotinib
  • Posaconazole
  • Ritonavir
  • Romidepsin
  • Saquinavir
  • Sunitinib
  • Tacrolimus
  • Temsirolimus
  • Tipranavir
  • Tolvaptan

Using rifabutin with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Atovaquone
  • Azithromycin
  • Dapsone
  • Didanosine
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Everolimus
  • Imatinib
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Mestranol
  • Nevirapine
  • Norelgestromin
  • Norethindrone
  • Sirolimus
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Trimetrexate
  • Warfarin
  • Zidovudine

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of rifabutin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Kidney disease, mild to severe

Proper Use of rifabutin

Rifabutin may be taken on an empty stomach (either 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal). However, if rifabutin upsets your stomach, you may want to take it with food.

For patients unable to swallow capsules:

  • The contents of the capsules may be mixed with applesauce. Be sure to take all the food to get the full dose of medicine.

To help prevent MAC disease, it is very important that you keep taking rifabutin for the full time of treatment. You may have to take it every day for many months. It is important that you do not miss any doses.


The dose of rifabutin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of rifabutin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (capsules):
    • For the prevention of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC):
      • Adults and teenagers—300 milligrams (mg) once a day, or 150 mg two times a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of rifabutin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

If rifabutin is taken on an irregular schedule, side effects may occur more often and may be more serious than usual. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.


Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using rifabutin

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits.

Rifabutin will cause your urine, stool, saliva, skin, sputum, sweat, and tears to turn reddish-orange to reddish-brown. This is to be expected while you are taking rifabutin. This effect may cause soft contact lenses to become permanently discolored. Standard cleaning solutions may not take out all the discoloration. Therefore, it is best not to wear soft contact lenses while taking rifabutin. Hard contact lenses are not discolored by rifabutin. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.

rifabutin Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Diarrhea
  • fever
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • skin itching and/or rash
Less common
  • Loss of strength or energy
  • muscle pain
  • Black, tarry, stools
  • bruising or purple spots on skin
  • change in taste
  • chills
  • cough
  • eye pain
  • joint pain
  • loss of vision
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle inflammation or pain
  • pale skin
  • painful or difficult urination
  • shortness of breath
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • yellow skin
  • sore throat
  • sour stomach
  • vomiting

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Abdominal pain
  • bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste in mouth
  • belching
  • bloated, full feeling
  • change in taste
  • chest pain
  • excess air or gas in stomach or intestines
  • headache
  • passing gas
  • rash
  • trouble in sleeping

rifabutin commonly causes reddish-orange to reddish-brown discoloration of urine, stools, saliva, skin, sputum, sweat, and tears. This side effect usually does not need medical attention. However, tears that have been discolored by rifabutin may also discolor soft contact lenses (see Precautions While Using rifabutin).

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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  • rifabutin Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
  • Rifabutin MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Rifabutin Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Mycobutin Prescribing Information (FDA)

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