Rifampin (Antibiotic)

Summary Information
Classification Chemicals / Complex Chemical Agents / Type:

(This chemicals section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. It does not contain detailed information on the chemical itself.)

Alternative Names
  • RIF
  • Rifampicin (Europe)
Notes Information in this page has been entered to support the current volumes of Wildpro and further information will be added as new volumes are completed. This page is not intended to substitute for the manufacturer's data sheet and the information is not yet complete for all species, or for all contra-indications etc.

CAUTION: Before any pharmaceutical product is used, the manufacturer's data sheet, containing information on uses, dosage and administration, contra-indications, warnings etc., should always be consulted. It is important to remember that licensing of pharmaceutical products for use in a particular species/condition, as well as mandatory meat and milk withdrawal times for food-producing animals, varies between countries and changes with time. Withdrawal times also may vary between different pharmaceutical formulations and depending on route of administration. In the EU, the prescription cascade must be followed (see LCofC1.2H and W564.Apr05.w1); note that specific restrictions apply for food-producing animals. In the USA, FARAD may be consulted regarding residues and meat and milk withdrawal times.

Semisynthetic complex macrocyclic antibiotic with a high-molecular weight. (B553.43.w43)

  • Highly lipid-soluble. (B553.43.w43)
  • Stable in acidic environments. (B553.43.w43)
  • This drug can concentrate inside neutrophils and macrophages, which is advantageous in the treatment of intracellular organisms as well as in the treatment of chronic granulomatous disorders. (B553.43.w43)
  • MIC is much lower for Gram-positive bacteria (0.1 micrograms/mL than for Gram-negative bacteria (8 - 32 micrograms/mL) due to the drug being able to penetrate into Gram-positive organisms more easily. (B553.43.w43)
  • Rapidly absorbed following oral administration in humans, dogs, horses, foals and calves, slower if given with food (faster absorption from acidic environment) and in sheep due to ruminal transit time. (B553.43.w43)
  • Note: multiple dosing can decrease peak serum drug concentrations due to autoinduction of hepatic enzymes. For the same reason, metabolism of several other drugs is increased if given concurrently with rifampin. (B553.43.w43)


The following information is taken with permission directly from the Elephant Care International website (W580.Sept2005.w3):


Note: Detailed guidelines for the treatment of tuberculosis in elephants have been developed in the U.S.A. by the National Tuberculosis Working Group for Zoo and Wildlife Species. The drugs and dosages recommended are based on human treatment protocols and information obtained from pharmacokinetic studies in elephants (unpublished data). The reader is advised to consult the current Guidelines available at the following websites:\protodoc_files\new03\Guidelines For The Control Of Tuberculosis In Elephants 2003.pdf [AVAILABLE IN FULL IN Wildpro: D303]

a) Rifampin 10 mg/kg orally only. Therapeutic levels have not been achieved with rectal administration (Natl. TB Working Group, 2003).

b) Adverse effects: In one elephant under treatment for tuberculosis, isoniazid (INH) administered orally together with rifampin (8 mg/kg), pyrazinamide (35mg/kg) and vitamin B6 caused partial anorexia. Rifampin was discontinued after the first 6 months of treatment due to failure to achieve therapeutic levels. Four elephants receiving daily direct oral administration of isoniazid (7.5 mg/kg) and rifampin (9.9 mg/kg) developed inappetance, lethargy, and pica. Symptoms resolved when the INH dose was reduced to 5.6 mg/kg and the rifampin dose was reduced to 7.5 mg/kg. One elephant also showed a decreased white blood cell count (from 13,000/Ál to 1,900/Ál) which resolved when INH was discontinued. (Mikota, 2001)

Elephant References: 

a) The National Tuberculosis Working Group for Zoo and Wildlife Species. 2003. Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants. Internet links above.

b) Mikota,S.K., Peddie,L., Peddie,J., Isaza,R., Dunker,F., West,G., Lindsay,W., Larsen,R.S., Salman,M.D., Chatterjee,D., Payeur,J., Whipple,D., Thoen,C., Davis,D.S., Sedgwick,C., Montali,R.J., Ziccardi,M., and Maslow,J. 2001. Epidemiology and diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 32:(1):1-16 Abstract: The deaths of two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in August 1996 led the United States Department of Agriculture to require the testing and treatment of elephants for tuberculosis. From August 1996 to September 1999, Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection was confirmed by culture in 12 of 118 elephants in six herds. Eight diagnoses were made antemortem on the basis of isolation of M. tuberculosis by culture of trunk wash samples; the remainder (including the initial two) were diagnosed postmortem. We present the case histories, epidemiologic characteristics, diagnostic test results and therapeutic plans from these six herds. The intradermal tuberculin test, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay serology, the blood tuberculosis test and nucleic acid amplification and culture are compared as methods to diagnose M. tuberculosis infection in elephants.

See also: 

Mikota,S.K., Larsen,R.S., and Montali,R.J. 2000. Tuberculosis in Elephants in North America. Zoo Biology 19:393-403 Abstract: Within the past 4 years, TB has emerged as a disease of concern in elephants. The population of elephants in North America is declining (Weise,1997), and transmissible diseases such as TB may exacerbate this trend. Guidelines for all elephants for TB, were instituted in 1997 (USDA, 1997, 2000). Between August 1996 and May 2000, Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated form 18 of 539 elephants in North America, indicating an estimated prevalence of 3.3%. Isolation of the TB organism by culture is the currently recommended test to establish a diagnosis of TB; however, culture requires 8 weeks. Further research is essential to validate other diagnostic tests and treatment protocols.

Dunker,F. and Rudovsky,M. 1998. Management and treatment of a Mycobacterium tuberculosis positive elephant at the San Francisco Zoo. Proceedings AAZV and AAWV Joint Conference. Pages: 122-123

Lagomorphs - Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus - Domestic rabbit:

  • 40 mg/kg orally every 12 hours plus azithromycin 50 mg/kg orally every 24 hours. In the treatment of Staphylococcal osteomyelitis. (B548.w8)
  • 40 mg/kg orally plus clarithromycin 80 mg/kg orally every 12 hours. In the treatment of Staphylococcal osteomyelitis. (B548.w8)

Great Apes

Taxa Groups (hyperlinked if included as Wildpro Modules) containing host species which have been recorded as infected by this organism.
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