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Pronounced: RIF-a-tur
Generic ingredients: Rifampin, Isoniazid, Pyrazinamide

Why is this drug prescribed: Rifater is a combination antibiotic used to treat the initial phase of tuberculosis. After a 2-month period, your doctor may prescribe another combination of antituberculosis drugs (Rifamate), which can be continued for longer periods.

Most important fact about this drug: Isoniazid, one of the components of Rifater, sometimes causes liver damage. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop yellowing of the eyes or skin, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting.

How should you take this medication: Take Rifater exactly as prescribed. Do not stop without consulting your doctor. It is important to take all of the drug prescribed for you, even if you feel better, and not to miss any doses. Take Rifater on an empty stomach, either 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal, with a full glass of water. Wait at least 1 hour before taking an antacid, as antacids may interfere with the drug. If needed, your doctor may suggest taking vitamin B6 while you are on Rifater therapy. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at once. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature. Protect from moisture.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Rifater. More common side effects may include: Angina (crushing chest pain), anxiety, bone pain, chest pain, chest tightness, cough, coughing up blood, diabetic coma, diarrhea, difficult breathing, digestive pain, fast, fluttery heartbeat, headache, hepatitis, hives, itching, joint pain, nausea, numbness or tingling of the legs, rash, reddened skin, skin peeling or flaking, sleeplessness, sweating, swelling of the legs, vomiting, yellowing of skin and eyes Less common side effects may include: High or persistent fever, ringing in ears, vertigo

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to or are sensitive to rifampin, isoniazid, or pyrazinamide. If you have serious liver disease or have ever had a severe side effect from isoniazid (such as fever, chills, and arthritis), do not take Rifater. Also, if you have a history of liver disease or have had acute and painful joint swelling (gout), avoid this drug.

Special warnings about this medication: Rifater may cause your urine, sputum, sweat, and tears to turn a red-orange color. This is to be expected and is not harmful. The drug may also permanently discolor contact lenses. Since Rifater may cause eye problems, you should have a complete eye examination before starting therapy and periodically during Rifater treatment. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink while on this medicine. Daily users of alcohol may be more prone to liver problems. Use this medicine with caution if you have diabetes or kidney disease. When rifampin, one of the drugs in Rifater, is taken at high doses (more than 600 milligrams) once or twice a week, it is likely that side effects may increase, including "flu-like" symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, weakness, upset stomach, and shortness of breath.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Rifater is taken with certain other drugs, the effects could be increased, decreased, or altered. Consider another form of birth control if you are taking oral contraceptives, since Rifater lowers their effectiveness. Also check with your doctor before combining Rifater with the following: Antacids such as Maalox or Tums Anticonvulsants such as Dilantin, Depakene, Mysoline, Tegretol Barbiturates such as phenobarbital and Nembutal Blood pressure medicines such as Inderal, Tenormin, and Vasotec Blood thinners such as Coumadin Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) Clofibrate (Atromid-S) Cotrimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) Cycloserine (Seromycin) Cyclosporine (Sandimmune) Dapsone Diabetes medications such as Diabinese and Orinase Disulfiram (Antabuse) Fluconazole (Diflucan) Haloperidol (Haldol) Heart medications such Calan, Cardizem, Lanoxin, Norpace, Mexitil, Procardia, Quinidex, and Tonocard Itraconazole (Sporanox) Ketoconazole (Nizoral) Levodopa (Sinemet) Narcotic analgesics such as Darvon, Demerol, Percocet, Percodan Nortriptyline (Pamelor) Probenecid (Benemid) Progestins such as Megace Steroid drugs such as Deltasone and Prelone Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) Theophylline (Theolair, Slo-Phyllin, Theo-Dur) Tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax Foods such as cheese, fish, and red wine may cause reactions if you are taking a medicine containing isoniazid. Call your doctor immediately if fast or fluttery heartbeat, flushing, sweating, headache, or light-headedness occurs while you are taking this medication.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. You may need to discontinue the drug. If needed for preventive treatment, Rifater should be started after delivery. An ingredient in Rifater may cause postnatal hemorrhaging in the mother and baby when given during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Rifater can pass into breast milk and may affect the nursing infant. Your doctor may recommend that you stop breastfeeding until your treatment with Rifater is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Take once a day, as follows: If you weigh 97 pounds or less: 4 tablets If you weigh 98 to 120 pounds: 5 tablets If you weigh 121 pounds or more: 6 tablets CHILDREN: Safety and effectiveness in children under the age of 15 have not been established.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. An untreated overdose of Rifater can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of Rifater overdose may include: Blurred vision, coma, dizziness, hallucinations, increasing tiredness or sluggishness, liver enlargement or tenderness, nausea, seizures, slurring of speech, shallow or difficult breathing, stupor, vomiting, yellow eyes and skin

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