Rifabutin (By mouth)


Rifabutin (rif-a-BUE-tin)

Helps prevent Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take and how often.
  • Keep taking your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to. Try not to miss any doses.
  • You may take the medicine with or without food. If the medicine upsets your stomach, you may want to take it with food.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take the missed dose as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for your next dose.
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the capsules at room temperature, away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Keep the medicine bottle closed tightly.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • There are many other drugs that may not work as well if taken with rifabutin. Make sure your doctor knows what medicine you take, especially if you are taking zidovudine (AZT, or Retrovir┬«), blood thinners such as Coumadin┬«, methadone, steroids (such as Prednisone┬«), or medicines to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, seizures, or asthma.
  • Birth control pills may not work while you are taking this medicine. Use another method of birth control (such as condoms or a diaphragm). Talk to your doctor about what kind of birth control to use while taking this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • If are pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking rifabutin.
  • You should not breastfeed if you have HIV or AIDS, because you may give the infection to your baby through your breast milk.
  • This medicine should not be given to patients with active tuberculosis (TB). If you know you have TB or think you may have active TB, tell your doctor.
  • This medicine will not prevent tuberculosis (TB). If you get a cough that won't go away or cough up blood or thick yellow mucus tell your doctor. You will need to be checked for TB.
  • Some patients may get MAC disease, even while taking this medicine. If you start to have fevers that are new or worse than before, night sweats, weight loss, or severe tiredness, call your doctor.
  • This medicine may turn your skin, urine, bowel movements, spit, tears, and sweat a brown-orange color. This is normal. Avoid wearing soft contact lenses because they can be permanently stained. You also may need to protect your clothes from being stained.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Unexplained fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Muscle pain or soreness
  • Rash
  • Eye pain or eye sensitivity to light
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Upset stomach, indigestion
  • Vomiting

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

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

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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