Side Effects of Rifafour Pills

Rifafour is a drug that is used to treat tuberculosis 3. The drug is a combination of the four drugs typically given at the onset of tuberculosis: rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. Rifafour is not used in the United States, but is the drug of choice in South Africa for treating the early stages of tuberculosis 3. If you or someone you know has recently started taking Rifafour there are a few side effects you should look out for 3.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Cutaneous Syndrome

Some patients taking Rifafour may experience cutaneous syndrome two to three hours after taking their daily dose of the drug 3. Cutaneous Syndrome causes facial flushing, eye irritation, itching, and a rash. In most cases the problems will disappear on their own after a few hours.

12 Hour Flu

Some patients taking Rifafour experience the 12 hour flu after taking the drug for three to six months 3. Patients will experience a fever, chills, and bone pain similar to the symptoms one would typically get with the flu. While the symptoms are often severe and cause the patient to stay in bed, symptoms usually disappear after 12 hours.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Many patients taking Rifaour will experience gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Interestingly enough, in most cases eating will help calm the stomach and relieve the problems.

Eye Problems

The ethambutol in Rifafour can cause red-green color blindness in one or both eyes 3. Color blindness will often persist even after a patient stops taking Rifafour 3. The contents of Rifafour can also cause constriction of the visual field, and in some casues a retinal hemmorrage that can cause blindness 3.


The rifampicin in Rifafour can cause muscle weakness, numbness, and drowsiness in some patients 3. In extreme cases the drug can also cause renal and kidney failure.