Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Nov 20, 2014

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Do you know the risks and side effects associated with taking Xifaxan? Read on to discover how it can affect you.

What is Xifaxan?

Xifaxan (rifaximin) is a drug used to treat people suffering diarrhea contracted while travelling overseas. This specific form of diarrhea results from travelling to a different country and eating food or drinking water contaminated with strains of Escherichia coli (commonly referred to as E.coli). E.coli is a bacterium that can be transferred to humans via eating raw vegetables or undercooked meat. This drug is only for the treatment of people over the age of 12.

What is Xifaxan prescribed for?

Xifaxan is prescribed for the treatment of diarrhea in adults. This diarrhea can come from travelling to a different country and eating foods that may have the E.coli bacteria present. This is especially prevalent in third world countries without adequate infrastructure to secure clean drinking water. Contaminated water can transfer the bacterium during food preparation, which makes salads and raw vegetables particularly risky to eat. Traveller’s diarrhea can be easily treated in healthy adults.

Side effects: The risk of birth defects

If you are seeking treatment for traveller’s diarrhea, it is important to be aware of the side effects of a drug like Xifaxan. This is especially important for women who are pregnant. The side effects of this drug can have an impact on the development of the fetus and cause defects and life-long disabilities. These include:

  • cleft palate
  • agnathia (missing jaw/s)
  • jaw-shortening
  • hemorrhage
  • small eyes
  • brachygnathia (a form of cleft palate)
  • incomplete ossification (formation of the bone tissue)
  • increased thoracolumbar vertebrae (problems with spinal development)

Currently, no adequate and well-controlled studies have been performed on pregnant women to create a full list of side effects. Therefore, if you are pregnant and given this drug you need to be made aware of the known possible side effects so that you can make a fully informed decision regarding its use.

Suffering from a side effect? Consult an Attorney

If you, or your baby, have suffered adverse health consequences following the use of Xifaxan, you should consult with an experienced injury and product liability attorney right away.