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What Is Rifapentine?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Rifapentine is a prescription antibiotic that is used in combination with other drugs to treat tuberculosis. This medication is effective only when combined with other antibiotics and is not designed to be used alone. Some of the most common side effects associated with the use of rifapentine include headaches, nausea, and loss of appetite. More serious side effects may include high blood pressure, liver disease, and severe intestinal disorders. Specific questions or concerns about the use of rifapentine in an individual situation should be discussed with the supervising physician.

Tuberculosis is a type of bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs and can lead to the development of serious health complications if left untreated. Symptoms of tuberculosis often include fatigue, chronic cough, and weight loss. A combination of antibiotics, including rifapentine, is often prescribed to treat this condition.

While many people are able to take rifapentine without experiencing negative side effects, any new or bothersome symptoms that develop after beginning treatment with this medication should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. Stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are among the most frequently reported side effects of this drug. These symptoms may be reduced by eating or drinking a glass of milk when taking rifapentine. Headaches, joint pain, and itching are also possible when using this medication.

Contact lenses and dentures should not be used while taking rifapentine due to the possibility of permanent discoloration. Skin, urine, and feces may also become orange or red-colored while taking this medication. Breast milk, saliva, and the teeth may show signs of this discoloration as well.

Some of the more serious potential side effects of rifapentine that should be reported to a doctor right away include liver disease or intestinal disturbances. Symptoms of liver disease may involve extreme fatigue, abdominal pain, and a yellowing of the skin or eyes. A severe intestinal condition known as clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea is a possible complication of antibiotic use and can be life threatening in some cases. Symptoms often include profuse diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dehydration.

Allergic reactions are possible when taking any medication, even if the drug has been used successfully in the past. Most of these reactions are relatively mild and involve the development of an itchy skin rash. A more serious type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis can be potentially fatal and requires emergency medical attention. Swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness are typical anaphylactic symptoms.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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