Effects of rifaximin administration on the intestinal microbiota in patients with ulcerative colitis

J Chemother. 2002 Jun;14(3):290-5. doi: 10.1179/joc.2002.14.3.290.


The effect of rifaximin on the intestinal bacterial population was studied in a clinical trial. Twelve patients with ulcerative colitis were administered rifaximin 1800 mg/day in 3 treatment periods of 10 days, each followed by 25 days of wash-out. Fecal samples were collected at the beginning and at the end of each treatment period to perform microbiological examinations. Titer variations of enterococci, coliforms, lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, Bacteroides spp., and Clostridium perfringens as well as their susceptibility to rifaximin during the different phases of the study were evaluated. The presence of Candida spp. was also monitored. After each wash-out period, concentrations of the intestinal microbial groups tested returned to initial values, showing that the administration of high doses of rifaximin does not significantly modify the colonic microbiota. Rifaximin-resistant isolates were also found, particularly in bacteria belonging to Bifidobacterium genus, included as probiotics in several fermented foods and in pharmaceutical preparations.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Candida albicans / isolation & purification
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / microbiology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Rifamycins / administration & dosage
  • Rifamycins / pharmacology*
  • Rifamycins / therapeutic use*
  • Rifaximin
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Rifamycins
  • Rifaximin