Role of rifampin for the treatment of bacterial infections other than mycobacteriosis

Chun Yuan Lee, Chung Hao Huang, Po Liang Lu, Wen Chien Ko, Yen Hsu Chen, Po Ren Hsueh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Rifampin was initially approved for the treatment of tuberculosis. Because of its low toxicity, broad-spectrum activity, and good bioavailability, rifampin is now commonly administered as combination antimicrobial therapy for the treatment of various infections caused by organisms other than mycobacteria. This review summarizes the most recent clinical studies on the use of rifampin combinations for treating four common non-mycobacterial infections: acute bacterial meningitis, infective endocarditis and bacteraemia, pneumonia, and biofilm-related infections. Methods We performed a literature search of clinical studies published in English from January 2005 to June 2016 using the PubMed database with the search terms “rifampin” with “meningitis” or “infective endocarditis and bacteraemia” or “pneumonia” or “prosthetic joint infections. Results Current evidence to support a rifampin combination therapy as a treatment for non-mycobacterial infections was largely based on in vitro/in vivo studies and non-comparable retrospective case series. Additionally, controlled clinical trials that directly compared outcomes resulting from rifampin treatment versus treatment without rifampin were limited. Conclusions Rifampin combination therapy appears promising for the treatment of non-mycobacterial infections. However, further definitive clinical trials are necessary to validate its use because the risk of adverse drug–drug interactions and of the emergence of rifampin resistance during treatment may outweigh the potential benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-408
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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