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Rifadin or generic Rifampin is prescribed as one of the medications taken to treat tuberculosis (TB), an infectious bacterial disease that can lay dormant in your lungs for years but once activated, it may affect other parts of your body. Your doctor can also recommend treating leprosy, and preventing pneumonia or meningitis caused by bacterium that you may have come into contact with. If you have already developed symptoms of meningitis, other drug treatments are available. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
When taken as directed, Rifadin will target a bacterial enzyme and cause it to be inactive. This enzyme, known as RNA-polymerase, is what bacteria require to make essential proteins and copy their own genetic information in order to replicate. If they are unable to multiply, their numbers dwindle and they die off. By taking several drugs at the same time, there is less risk of the bacteria becoming drug resistant while also decreasing the numbers quickly. After 2 months, the number of drugs you take will be reduced to Rifadin and one other to be taken for the next 4 months to kill any bacteria that remains.
Not everyone exposed to TB germs will become infected, and some that are may have a healthy immune system that will contain the bacteria to stop the disease from becoming ‘active’, this is called latent TB and you cannot pass it on to others and you will not develop symptoms. Active TB symptoms include a cough, fever, weight loss, and night sweats. An infected person can cough, sneeze, or spit when talking or shouting and anyone near-by could inhale the droplets into their lungs. Due to a compromised immune system, those with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have a higher risk of developing active tuberculosis.
Ask your doctor about the safety of taking Rifadin while you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Discuss other medical conditions and allergies you have and list any current over-the-counter and Rx drugs you take or use, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements to determine if Rifadin is the best drug for your circumstances.
Until you know how Rifadin will affect you, avoid driving or performing any task that requires you to be alert. It is important that you continue taking Rifadin for the time period prescribed by your doctor to reduce the risk of any remaining bacteria multiplying. You may notice your urine, sweat, tears, and saliva are a reddish or purple color. This discoloring could cause permanent staining to your soft contact lenses.