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JMM profile: rifampicin: a broad-spectrum antibiotic

Hardie, Kim R.; Fenn, Samuel Jacob

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Professor of Bacterial Pathogenesis

Samuel Jacob Fenn


Rifampicin (also known as rifampin) inhibits RNA synthesis, and is used to treat tuberculosis, leprosy, staphylococcal infections and legionnaires' disease. It can also protect at-risk populations from Haemophilus influenzae type b and Neisseria meningitidis. It is a polyketide antibiotic and is on the World Health Organization (WHO) list of essential medicines due to its critical importance to human medicine. The adverse effect of liver toxicity is controlled by testing during prolonged treatment regimes. Rifampicin's red-orange colour can result in the colouration of sweat, tears and urine. Resistance to rifampicin arises from mutation of the target RNA polymerase or ADP ribosylation of the antibiotic or efflux. Mycobacteria may become singularly resistant to rifampicin or as part of multidrug or extensive drug resistance.


Hardie, K. R., & Fenn, S. J. (2022). JMM profile: rifampicin: a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 71(8),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 30, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 5, 2022
Publication Date 2022-08
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 15, 2023
Journal Journal of Medical Microbiology
Print ISSN 0022-2615
Electronic ISSN 1473-5644
Publisher Microbiology Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Issue 8
Keywords General Medicine; Microbiology
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