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Rifaximin is a medicine used in adults with traveler’s diarrhea. This is a type of medicine called a rifamycin antibiotic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. Rifaximin comes as a tablet for oral use with the dosage strengths of 200 mg and 550 mg.
Traveler’sdiarrhea is a digestive tract disorder that causes abdominal cramps and loosestools. When you visit a place where the climate or sanitary practices aredifferent from yours at home, you have an increased risk of developing thecondition. This usually begins abruptly during your trip or shortly after youreturn home. Most cases improve within one to two days without treatment andclear up completely within a week. However, you can have multiple episodes oftraveler’s diarrhea during one trip. The most common signs and symptoms oftraveler’s diarrhea are:
- Abrupt onset of the passage of three or more loose stools a day
- Abdominal cramps
- An urgent need to defecate
Sometimes,people experience a high fever, moderate to severe dehydration, bloody stools,persistent vomiting, or severe pain in the abdomen. Traveler’s diarrhea maystem from the stress of traveling or a change in diet. But usually, aninfectious agent is to blame. You typically develop traveler’s diarrhea afteringesting food or water that’s contaminated with organisms from feces.
Yourchances of getting traveler’s diarrhea are mostly determined by yourdestination. But, certain groups of people have a greater risk of developingthe condition. These include:
Peoplewith weakened immune systems. A weakened immune systemincreases vulnerability to infections.
Youngadults. The condition is slightly more common in youngadult tourists. Though the reasons why aren’t clear, it’s possible that youngadults lack acquired immunity. They may also be more adventurous than olderpeople in their travels and dietary choices or they may be less vigilant inavoiding contaminated foods.
Peoplewith inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or cirrhosis of the liver. Theseconditions can leave you more prone to infection or increase your risk of amore severe infection.
Peoplewho travel during certain seasons. The risk of traveler’s diarrheavaries by season in certain parts of the world.
Peoplewho take acid blockers or antacids. The acid in the stomach tendsto destroy organisms, so a reduction in stomach acid may leave more opportunityfor bacterial survival.
How doesRifaximin work?
Rifaximinworks by killing the bacteria that are causing the infection. It targets andinactivates the bacterial enzyme called RNA-polymerase. The bacteria useRNA-polymerase to make essential proteins and to copy their genetic informationwhich is called DNA. Without this enzyme, the bacteria cannot reproduce andthey die.
Thisantibiotic acts locally in the intestine and is not absorbed into thebloodstream in significant amounts.
How touse Rifaximin for traveler’s diarrhea?
Rifaximincanbe taken with or without a meal. They should be swallowed with a glass ofwater. Do not chew or crush the medicine. The usual dose of this is one tabletto be taken every eight hours for three days. You should complete this courseeven if your symptoms improve. The dosage is based on your medical conditionand response to treatment. For the best effect, take this antibiotic at evenlyspaced times. To help you remember, take this medication at the same time andin the same way every day. If you missed a dose, call your doctor right awayfor instructions. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
Continueto take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even ifsymptoms disappear after a few days. Stopping the medication too early mayresult in a return of the infection. Tell your doctor if you are still havingdiarrhea after 1 to 2 days, if you have bloody diarrhea or if you have a feveralong with diarrhea. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or ifit worsens.
Thepossible side effects of Rifaximin
- Stomach pain
- Feeling your bowel is not empty
- Feeling like you urgently empty your bowel
- Swelling in your feet, hands, or torso
- Tired feeling
Tell yourdoctor if you have developed serious side effects such as:
- Abdominal or stomach pain or cramps
- Persistent diarrhea
- Blood or mucus in your stool
- This should only be taken for a maximum of three days. If your symptoms do not improve after three days or come back shortly after you have finished the course, you should see a doctor.
- Antibiotics can sometimes cause inflammation of the bowel. For this reason, if your diarrhea gets worse or starts to contain blood or mucus, either during or after taking this medicine, you should consult a doctor right away.
- This medicine should not be used in people with an allergy to any rifamycin antibiotics, people with diarrhea containing blood, or those who have experienced eight or more unformed or liquid stools in the previous 24 hours.
- Children and adolescents under 18 years old should also not use this prescription.
- This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine, and inform your doctor instantly.
- The safety of this medicine in pregnancy has not been established. The manufacturer states that it is not recommended for women who are pregnant or for fertile women who are not using an effective method of contraception. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
- It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk, although this is unlikely because the medicine is only minimally absorbed into the bloodstream. The manufacturer recommends that mothers who are breastfeeding should either not take this medicine or if they wish to take this medicine should stop breastfeeding temporarily during treatment. Ask your doctor for further information.
- You must tell your doctor about the medicines you are taking including vitamins or herbal supplements.