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How to Take Xifaxan: Instructions, Tips, and Precautions

Tuesday 27 February 2024
6 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is Xifaxan Used For?

II. Xifaxan Dosage and Administration

III. Storing Xifaxan Tablets

IV. Tips for Taking Xifaxan

V. Possible Side Effects and Precautions

VI. Avoiding Xifaxan Interactions

VII. Key Points for Taking Xifaxan

What is Xifaxan Used For?

Xifaxan is a popular medication prescribed for various gastrointestinal conditions. It is most commonly used to treat traveler's diarrhea caused by non-invasive strains of E. coli. Other conditions that Xifaxan is approved to treat include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (HE)

Xifaxan contains rifaximin, which stops bacterial growth in the gastrointestinal tract. By inhibiting the growth of bacteria, Xifaxan effectively reduces symptoms such as fever, nausea, bloating, and abdominal cramps. [1]

If you have been prescribed Xifaxan for any of the conditions mentioned above, learning how to take it correctly is essential. Read on to learn everything you need to know about taking Xifaxan, the recommended dosages, and how to avoid interactions to minimize side effects.  

a woman taking a pill

Xifaxan Dosage and Administration

If you take Xifaxan for traveler's diarrhea, the recommended dosage is 200 mg orally, three times daily for three days.

For hepatic encephalopathy, the recommended dose is 550 mg twice daily for the duration prescribed by your doctor.

For those taking Xifaxan to treat IBS-D, the recommended dosage of Xifaxan is 550 mg three times a day for two weeks. If symptoms persist after this treatment period, you can be re-treated with the same regimen up to two times. [2]

Because every patient is different, you should always follow the dosage instructions provided by your doctor. It is also important to complete the entire course of your prescribed treatment, even if symptoms improve beforehand.

When taking Xifaxan, you should monitor and report any side effects to your doctor. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage based on how you respond to this medication.

Storing Xifaxan Tablets

It is important to keep Xifaxan tablets out of children's reach.

When storing Xifaxan, keep the tablets in their intended container and at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F. You should store your Xifaxan medication away from moisture and light.

If you have unused and expired Xifaxan tablets, ask your doctor how to dispose of them correctly. Do not use Xifaxan after its expiration date.

Tips for Taking Xifaxan

When it comes to taking Xifaxan, there are a few steps you can follow to ensure this medication works safely and effectively.

  • Inform your doctor of other medications. Before starting Xifaxan, inform your doctor about all other medications you are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Certain antibiotics, CYP3A4 inhibitors, immunosuppressive agents, and other medications may interact with Xifaxan, altering its effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions. Always take Xifaxan exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less than the prescribed dosage; do not stop taking it without consulting your doctor.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while taking Xifaxan unless your doctor advises otherwise. Staying hydrated can help your body process the medication effectively.
  • Complete the full course. Finish the entire course of Xifaxan, even if you start feeling better before you've taken all the doses. Stopping the medication prematurely could result in the infection not being fully treated and may lead to antibiotic resistance.
  • Be aware of side effects. Like any medication, Xifaxan can cause side effects. Common side effects include bloating, gas, stomach pain, constipation, nausea, headache, and dizziness. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, contact your doctor.
  • Monitor your condition. Keep track of your symptoms while taking Xifaxan. If your symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms, contact your doctor. [3]

a man experiencing side effects from Xifaxan

Possible Side Effects and Precautions

While Xifaxan is usually well-tolerated by most, understanding the possible side effects can help you take the proper precautions. The most common side effects of Xifaxan are gastrointestinal-related, such as constipation, abdominal pain, gas, and bloating.

Although common, these side effects are generally mild and tolerable, and they often go away by themselves. Some patients experience vomiting and nausea. Like constipation and bloating, vomiting and nausea also resolve on their own. Other common side effects of Xifaxan include:

  • Dizziness: This side effect does not occur in everyone. However, if you feel dizzy while taking Xifaxan, it is important to refrain from activities that require your complete focus, including driving, sports, or operating machinery.
  • Headache: Patients who experience headaches when taking Xifaxan usually report mild and transient headaches. If your headache worsens during treatment, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose.
  • Allergic reactions: An allergic reaction to Xifaxan is not that common, but telltale signs of an adverse reaction to this medication include swelling of the face, itching and a rash, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing. If you are having an allergic reaction to Xifaxan, you must seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Worsening liver function: If you take Xifaxan for hepatic encephalopathy, you may be at a higher risk of worsening liver function. If signs of liver dysfunction occur—including jaundice, dark urine, and abdominal pain—you may require medical treatment right away. [3]

You are already minimizing the risk of side effects by taking exactly the prescribed dosage, listening to your doctor's directions, and avoiding drug interactions. For a full list of potential Xifaxan side effects, speak to your primary healthcare provider. Monitor your side effects during treatment to ensure your prescribed dosage works optimally.

a white-haired doctor speaking to her patient and showing her patient details from a clipboard

Avoiding Xifaxan Interactions

Ensuring Xifaxan's effectiveness and safety involves being cautious about its interactions with other medications or substances. Here are some practical steps to consider:

Consult your healthcare provider: Before starting Xifaxan, discuss your current medication regimen with your healthcare provider. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Your provider can assess potential interactions and adjust your treatment plan.

Avoid self-medication: Mixing medications without medical supervision can lead to adverse effects. Certain medications, such as antibiotics or immunosuppressants, may interact with Xifaxan, necessitating careful monitoring and management by a healthcare professional.

Disclose your medical history: Transparent communication about your medical history, including any underlying health conditions such as liver impairment, is essential for safe Xifaxan use. Your healthcare provider needs comprehensive information to determine the appropriateness of Xifaxan therapy and mitigate potential risks.

Monitor for adverse effects: While taking Xifaxan, remain vigilant for any signs of adverse effects or unusual symptoms. Promptly report any concerns to your healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance.

By following these guidelines and maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider, you can minimize the risk of interactions and optimize the safety and efficacy of Xifaxan therapy.

Key Points for Taking Xifaxan

Xifaxan works effectively to combat symptoms of traveler's diarrhea or hepatic encephalopathy for most patients, and you should be on the right track as long as you follow your doctor's instructions.

In summary, stay hydrated throughout treatment, monitor for any side effects, and complete your course of treatment (even if you feel better early on). Avoid drug interactions, store your medication safely, and speak to your doctor if you have any other concerns.

By taking Xifaxan as prescribed, you are doing your part to minimize side effects and maximize this medication's benefits. Visit our Xifaxan blog to learn more about getting the most out of your medication.