Rifampin is an antibiotic that is used to treat MRSA, which is short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a staph infection that doesn’t respond to commonly used antibiotics.
Rifampin isn’t usually used to treat MRSA, but it can be used when a person has allergies to other effective antibiotics. This antibiotic is not successful when used as monotherapy because resistance occurs rapidly.
Treatment length is usually extensive to prevent a resistant strain of the bacteria that is being treated from developing into a worse infection that is harder to treat than the original one.
In 1967 Rifampicin was first introduced. A research group in Milan Italy, headed by Prof. Piero Sensi and Dr. Maria Teresa Timbal discovered a new bacterium in a soil sample from a pine forest in the French Rivera and it had antibacterial activity. It was originally combined with other drugs to treat tuberculosis. It is a semi-synthetic antibiotic derived from Amycolatopsis rifamycinica that works by killing the bacteria that is being treated. It is most effective on Mycobacterium infections like the following:
- Hansen’s disease
- Non-tuberculous mycrobacteria) NTM
Side effects of taking Rifampicin may be difficult to isolate since the antibiotic is commonly used as part of a “cocktail” that includes other medications to treat infections like MRSA.
Some of the side effects that Rifampicin can cause may be the same as other medication that it is being combined with. Communicating with your physician regarding the side effects will be important to prevent complications from the medications that are prescribed. Some of the side effects include the following:
- Red tint to urine, sweat, sputum, and tears
- Itchy or flushed skin
- Confusion or trouble concentration
- Behavioral changes
- Digestive problems
- Menstruation that is painful or irregular
- Difficulties in vision
- Pain in extremities
Serious side effects can include the following:
- Rash, hives, or blisters
- Swelling on face, in joints, or extremities
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
If there is any concern over the seriousness of a side effect, consult with a medical professional or seek medical care.
MRSA is a serious and can be life threatening if treatment isn’t successful so a healthcare professional will need to be consulted and allowed to monitor the infection if alternative or natural treatments like Manuka honey are used in treatment. Commonly other antibiotics will be used to treat MRSA instead of Rifampin because resistant strains develop rapidly. When administered properly, Rifampin is an effective antibiotic when combined with other drugs to prevent resistance. It is useful in the treatment of MRSA when other antibiotics are not successful or a person is allergic to one of the antibiotics that are usually used to treat it.