Xifaxanta is a tablet medication used to treat traveller’s diarrhoea. It is a type of antibiotic, which is taken over a period of three days. This treatment works by interfering with the cell structure of the bacteria causing the infection. The manufacturers of Xifaxanta are Norgine, and it is only available to buy in the UK with a prescription.
- Three-a-day treatment
- Clears up symptoms fast
- Simple to swallow tablets
Traveller’s diarrhoea is a condition characterised by loose stools, and increased bowel frequency. Other symptoms may also include headache, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite. In some cases, diarrhoea can also lead to dehydration. Diarrhoea itself can be caused by a number of elements; but this particular type is the result of an infection, or gastroenteritis, picked up during travel or while on holiday abroad. This infection can be bacterial, viral or protozoan in nature; but it is more commonly campylobacter and E. coli which are responsible.
Roughly 10 million people per year are estimated to encounter traveller’s diarrhoea, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms do not always present in the patient while on holiday; in some cases, they may not appear until the patient has returned home. As with most illnesses, persons with a weaker immune system are more likely to be susceptible to infection, but in the case of traveller’s diarrhoea, those who have inflammatory bowel disease may also be at increased risk.
It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of this type of illness, but preventative measures include taking care to limit the likelihood of eating contaminated food, or drinking contaminated water. The presence of fecal particles in food is a major cause, so avoiding eateries where poor hygiene conditions are apparent is a crucial rule when travelling.
Many cases of traveller’s diarrhoea will clear up within a few days. Getting plenty of bed rest and replacing lost water are essential approaches in tackling the infection. But for some, symptoms may be more severe, and require prescription treatment.
The functioning constituent in Xifaxanta is rifaximin, which is an antibiotic. It is a local treatment designed to work in the gut, and is largely not taken up into the bloodstream. The bacteria responsible for the infection will generate a self-sustaining enzyme, called RNA-polymerase, which it will use to replicate itself and grow. Rifaximin inhibits the production of this enzyme, thereby stopping this growth process, and allowing the immune system to kill off the infection.
We do not offer this medication via our online pharmacy. If you are interested to know whether this treatment is suitable for you, speak to your doctor.
It is vital to follow the directions given to you by your prescriber when taking these tablets. Doing so will enable you to get the best possible results from the treatment. Adhering to the instructions supplied in the patient information leaflet will also help to lower the likelihood of side effects.
- Take as directed.
- For most cases, the prescribed dose will be one tablet taken by mouth every eight hours, for a period of three days.
- Swallow the tablets whole, with water.
- Do not exceed the amount prescribed by your practitioner.
- If you forget to take it, do not compensate by doubling up on your next dose. Simply take it when you remember, then take your next dose at the scheduled time.
The above is provided only as a guide. More detailed instructions can be found in the leaflet which comes with the product.
Not everyone who uses this treatment will get side effects. However, it is important to be aware of the side effects associated with this drug so that you can take the appropriate action in the event that they occur.
Contact your doctor immediately if: your diarrhoea symptoms become worse; you present blood in the stools or a fever; or if you notice any signs resembling those of an allergic reaction.
Common (1 in 10 people or less):
Headache, dizziness, flatulence, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, increased bowel urgency, feeling or being sick, involuntary and painful or ineffective straining, or fever.
Uncommon (1 in 100 people or less):
Thrush, cold sore, throat or nasal inflammation or infection, abnormal liver function test results, loss of appetite, dehydration, abnormal dreams, depressed mood, insomnia, nervousness, numbness, migraine, pins and needles, sinus headache, drowsiness, sight problems, earache, vertigo, increased heart rate, rise in blood pressure, hot flushes, cough, dry throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, upper abdominal pain, indigestion, dry lips, hard or bloody stools, mucus in stools, taste disorders, rashes, blotchy skin, sunburn, back or muscle pain, blood or sugar in urine, frequent urination, or increased perspiration.
This is not a complete list of the side effects reported in those using this treatment. For a more detailed list, please refer to the product leaflet.
Taking it with other medicines
Your prescriber needs to know if you are currently using any other prescription, non-prescription or remedial products. If you are also taking activated charcoal, you must leave at least two hours between doing so and taking this treatment.
Conditions to look out for
It should not be used by anyone who: is allergic to this or similar medications; has a fever; has blood in their stool; or has passed more than 8 stools in the previous 24-hour period. Those who find that their symptoms persist or intensify after treatment has finished should seek advice from their doctor.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
This treatment is not recommended for use by females who are pregnant or are of fertile age but not using contraception. Speak to your doctor before you use this medication if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive.
Driving and machinery
This treatment should not alter your ability to drive or operate machines. However, if you do feel dizzy or drowsy, do not drive or use machinery.
Can I still drink alcohol?
The consumption of alcohol is not recommended for those who are experiencing symptoms of traveller’s diarrhoea, as it may exacerbate the condition.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes, provided you experience no side effects which may make it difficult for you to do so. If you do notice any side effects, do not drive and contact your doctor.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
It may not be suitable for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Let your prescriber know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, so that they can assess whether taking this treatment is safe for you.
How should I store it?
These tablets should be kept out of the reach of children, at a temperature below 30°C.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
In this drug are the following ingredients: rifaximin, sodium starch glycolate type A, glycerol distearate, colloidal anhydrous silica, talc, microcrystalline cellulose, hypromellose, titanium dioxide, disodium edetate, propylene glycol, and red iron oxide E172.
Do not use it if you are allergic to any of the above substances.
Is it available over-the-counter?
Xifaxanta is only available to buy with a prescription.
Is it right for me?
If you wish to find out whether you require a prescription for this medication, contact your doctor for a face to face appointment.
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