Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Rifampicin


Last updated on 06/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Rifampicin


CHINESE NAME: 利福平、立汎黴素

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Rifadin, Rimactane

DRUG CLASS: Antibiotics

SUB CLASS: Antimycobacterials, Rifamycin

USED FOR: Tuberculosis, prophylaxis of meningococcal disease

– 150 mg, 300 mg, 450 mg, 600 mg (tablets)
– 150 mg, 300 mg (capsules)
– 2% (syrups)

What is Rifampicin for?

Rifampicin belongs to a class of medications called antimycobacterials. It kills bacteria by inhibiting bacterial RNA synthesis. Rifampicin is used to treat tuberculosis, a serious infection that affects the lungs, and people who are infected by Neisseria meningitidis, a meningitis-causing bacteria, to prevent them from infecting other people. Rifampicin does not work for virus or fungus infections.

How to use it?

Rifampicin is available as tablets, capsules and syrups that are taken by mouth. Rifampicin should be taken on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after meal). When rifampicin is used to treat tuberculosis, it is taken once daily. When rifampicin is used to prevent the spread of Neisseria meningitidis infections, it is taken twice daily for 2 days or once daily for 4 days.

Oral: Use in combination with other antitubercular agents.
Body weight >50 kg: 600 mg once daily.
Body weight <50 kg: 450 mg once daily.
10-20 mg/kg body weight once daily. Maximum dosage is 600 mg daily.

Prophylaxis of meningococcal meningitis
600 mg twice daily for 2 days.
Child over 1 month
10 mg/kg body weight twice daily for 2 days.
Child under 1 month
5 mg/kg body weight twice daily for 2 days.

What are the side effects of Rifampicin?

Common side effects of Rifampicin include heartburn, anorexia, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, drowsiness, fatigue, ataxia, confusion, oedema and difficulty to concentrate.

Who should not take Rifampicin?

Anyone who has an allergy to Rifampicin or other rifamycins.

Pharmacist Tips:

– Antibiotics like Rifampicin may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Consider using another form of contraception while taking Rifampicin.
– This medication can cause visual disturbances. If affected, do not drive or operate machinery.
– Rifampicin can cause permanent staining of contact lenses. Wearing of contact lenses is not recommended during treatment.
– You must complete the entire course of this antibiotic, or else, the infection will not be properly controlled.

Common dosing schedule:
Take Rifampicin on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after meals) which enhances its absorption.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Rifampicin may interact with:
– Antacids
– Antiarrhythmics
– Anticonvulsants, e.g. Phenobarbital, Phenytoin, Sodium Valproate
Warfarin and other anticoagulants
– Oral contraceptives, e.g. Drospirenone, Levonorgestrel

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Rifampicin in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Rifampicin is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Rifampicin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.