Targaxan contains the active substance rifaximin. Targaxan is an antibiotic that destroys bacteria, which can cause a disease called hepatic encephalopathy (symptoms include agitation, confusion, muscle problems, difficulty in speaking and in some cases coma).
Targaxan is used in adults with liver disease to reduce the recurrence of episodes of overt hepatic encephalopathy.
Targaxan can either be used alone or more commonly together with medicines containing lactulose (a laxative).
What is it used for?
- Targaxan contains the active substance rifaximin. Targaxan is an antibiotic that destroys bacteria, which can cause a disease called hepatic encephalopathy (symptoms include agitation, confusion, muscle problems, difficulty in speaking and in some cases coma).
- Targaxan is used in adults with liver disease to reduce the recurrence of episodes of overt hepatic encephalopathy.
- Targaxan can either be used alone or more commonly together with medicines containing lactulose (a laxative).
What you need to know before you take Targaxan
Do not take Targaxan: if you are allergic to
- similar types of antibiotics (such as rifampicin or rifabutin)
- any of the other ingredients of this medicine
- if you have a blockage in your intestine
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking Targaxan.
- While you are taking Targaxan your urine may turn a reddish colour. This is quite normal.
- Treatment with any antibiotic including rifaximin may cause severe diarrhoea. This can happen several months after you have finished taking the medicine. If you have severe diarrhoea during or after using Targaxan you should stop taking Targaxan and contact your doctor immediately.
- If your liver problems are severe your doctor will need to observe you carefully.
Children and adolescents
Targaxan is not recommended for children and adolescents aged under 18 years. This medicine has not been studied in children and adolescents.
Other medicines and Targaxan
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines.
Please tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
- antibiotics (medicines to treat infections)
- warfarin (medicine to prevent blood clotting)
- antiepileptics (medicines for the treatment of epilepsy)
- antiarrhythmics (medicines to treat abnormal heart beat)
- ciclosporin (immunosuppressor)
- oral contraceptives
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.
- It is not known if Targaxan can harm your unborn baby. Targaxan is therefore not to be used if you are pregnant.
- It is not known if rifaximin may be passed to your baby in breast milk. Targaxan is therefore not to be used if you are breast-feeding.
Driving and using machines
- Targaxan does not normally affect the ability to drive and use machines, but may cause dizziness in some patients. If you feel dizzy you should not drive or operate machinery.
How to take Targaxan
- Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- The recommended dose is 1 tablet twice a day taken with a glass of water.
- Your doctor will assess the need for you to continue treatment after 6 months.
If you take more Targaxan than you should
- If you take more than the recommended number of tablets, even if you do not notice any problems, please contact your doctor.
If you forget to take Targaxan
- Take the next dose at its normal time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet.
If you stop taking Targaxan
- Do not stop taking Targaxan without talking to your doctor first because your symptoms may return.
- If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Stop taking Targaxan and tell your doctor IMMEDIATELY if you have any of the following side effects:
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):
- If you have bleeding from swollen blood vessels in your throat (oesophageal varices).
- If you have severe diarrhoea during or after using this medicine. This may be due to an infection of the intestine.
Not known (frequency cannot be estimated from the available data):
If you get an allergic reaction, hypersensitivity or angioedema. Symptoms include:
- swelling of the face, tongue or throat
- swallowing difficulties
- hives and breathing difficulties.
- If you have any unexpected or unusual bleeding or bruising. This may be due to a decrease in the platelets in your blood which increases the risk of bleeding. Frequency is not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):
- Depressed mood
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling or being sick
- Stomach ache or bloating/swelling
- Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites)
- Rash or itching
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Swelling of ankles, feet or fingers
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):
- Yeast infections (such as thrush)
- Urinary infection (such as cystitis)
- Anaemia (reduction in red blood cells which can make the skin pale and cause weakness or breathlessness)
- Loss of appetite
- Hyperkalaemia (high level of potassium in the blood)
- Feeling sleepy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling unsteady
- Loss of or poor memory
- Loss of concentration
- Reduced sense of touch
- Convulsions (fits)
- Hot flushes
- Fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion)
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- Muscle pain
- Needing to pass urine more often than usual
- Difficulty or pain passing urine
- Oedema (swelling due to too much fluid in the body)
Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people):
- Chest infections including pneumonia
- Cellulitis (inflammation of tissue under skin)
- Upper respiratory tract infections (nose, mouth, throat)
- Rhinitis (inflammation inside the nose)
- Dehydration (body water loss)
- Changes in blood pressure
- Constant breathing problems (such as chronic bronchitis)
- Back pain
- Protein in the urine
- Feeling weak
- Pain following surgery