Xifaxan (Rifaximin) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Xifaxan
Most people get travelers’ diarrhea by drinking fluids or eating foods that are contaminated with the E.Coli bacteria. Xifaxan or rifaximin is an antibiotic, which is used for treating this condition in people who are at least 12 years of age. This drug does not get absorbed into your blood, but stays in your digestive system and stops the growth of the bacteria. You can buy Xifaxan in the form of oral pills, but cannot use it to treat bloody diarrhea.
Side Effects for Xifaxan
Some of the mild side effects associated with Xifaxan include gas, bloating and stomach pain, nausea, constipation and vomiting, headache, tiredness, dizziness, and swelling of the torso, hands, or feet. The drug can sometimes cause a serious condition in your intestines known as clostridium difficile diarrhea. You may notice this condition only after weeks or months after the treatment. Therefore, it would be better to watch out for the symptoms like stomach cramping, abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, or blood or mucus in the stools. You should also keep a watch for symptoms of allergic reactions, which may include trouble breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, throat, or lips, hives, and severe dizziness.
If you are suffering from a severe liver disease, bloody or watery diarrhea, or diarrhea with fever, your doctor may need to conduct special tests and make dosage adjustments while recommending that you buy Xifaxan. While taking this medicine, your symptoms may get better much before the treatment ends, but you should still take it for the full treatment phase, otherwise the disease may come back or worsen over time. Although Xifaxan is not known to cause harm to an unborn baby, you should inform your doctor if you are pregnant. During the course of Xifaxan treatment, try to avoid consuming contaminated foods and beverages, as they may decrease the efficiency of the drug.
If you are taking the drug to treat travelers’ diarrhea, you will need to take one Xifaxan 200mg tablet three times a day for 3 consecutive days. It can be taken with food or without food, but make sure that the tablet is not crushed, chewed, dissolved, or broken. If Xifaxan is being used for treating hepatic encephalopathy, you will be recommended to take one Xifaxan 550mg tablet twice a day. Antibiotics work best when their levels remain constant in your body. Therefore, it would be better to take Xifaxan at the same time each day.
Before taking Xifaxan, you should inform your doctor if you have an allergy to rifaximin or any such drugs like rifabutin, rifampin, or rifapentine. Medicines that may contain these drugs include Mycobutin, Rifater, Rifadin, Priftin, or Rifamate. You should also inform your doctor about all the medicines you are taking at present, especially live vaccines. Although antibiotics do not have any effect on hormonal birth control pills, patches, and rings, some of them may curb their efficiency. Therefore, it would be better to use a barrier form of contraception like condoms during Xifaxan treatment.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.