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Generic name: rifamycin
Brand name: Aemcolo
Dosage form: oral delayed release tablet (194 mg)
Drug class: Rifamycin derivatives

Medically reviewed by  A Ras MD.

What is rifamycin used for?

Rifamycin is a prescription medicine that is used to treat travelers’ diarrhea.


AEMCOLO, delayed-release tablet, for oral administration, contains 194 mg of rifamycin equivalent to 200 mg of rifamycin sodium.

Rifamycin sodium is a rifamycin antibacterial. It is designated chemically as: Sodium (2S,12Z,14E,16S,17S,18R,19R,20R,21S,22R,23S,24E)-21-(acetyloxy)-6,9,17,19-tetrahydroxy-23-methoxy-2,4,12,16,18,20,22-heptamethyl-1,11-dioxo-1,2-dihydro-2,7-(epoxypentadeca[1,11,13]trienimino)naphtho[2,1-b]furan-5-olate. Its empirical formula is C37H46NNaO12. The molecular weight is 720 g/mol.

Its structural formula is:


Rifamycin sodium is a fine or slightly granular powder, soluble in water, and freely soluble in anhydrous ethanol.

AEMCOLO, delayed-release tablets are enteric coated with a pH-resistant polymer film which breaks down above pH 7. The tablet core contains rifamycin. The tablets are yellow brown and ellipsoidal.

Each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: ammonio methacrylate copolymer (Type B), ascorbic acid, glyceryl distearate, lecithin, magnesium stearate, mannitol, methacrylic acid and methyl methacrylate copolymer (1:2), polyethylene glycol 6000, colloidal silicon dioxide, talc, titanium dioxide, triethylcitrate, yellow ferric oxide.

Before taking rifamycin, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to rifamycin; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If you have diarrhea along with fever or blood in the stool.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with rifamycin.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take rifamycin with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take rifamycin?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take rifamycin. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Do not use longer than you have been told. A second infection may happen.
  • Call your doctor right away if diarrhea lasts more than 48 hours or gets worse.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using rifamycin while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

How is rifamycin best taken?

Use rifamycin as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Take with or without food.
  • Take with a full glass of liquid. Do not take with alcohol.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • Keep taking rifamycin as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What are the side effects of rifamycin that I need to call my doctor about immediately?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Diarrhea is common with antibiotics. Rarely, a severe form called C diff–associated diarrhea (CDAD) may happen. Sometimes, this has led to a deadly bowel problem (colitis). CDAD may happen during or a few months after taking antibiotics. Call your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, cramps, or very loose, watery, or bloody stools. Check with your doctor before treating diarrhea.

What are some other side effects of rifamycin?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If overdose is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out rifamycin?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.


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