Rifampicin, an antituberculosis drug, is usually administered for 4 to 12 months with other antituberculosis drugs or medications from other classes. A potential for drug interactions often exists because rifampicin is a potent inducer of hepatic drug metabolism, as evidenced by a proliferation of smooth endoplasmic reticulum and an increase in the cytochrome P450 content in the liver. The induction is a highly selective process and not every drug metabolised via oxidation is affected. Case reports and studies have demonstrated enhanced metabolism of several drugs; most of these interactions are clinically important. At the start of rifampicin treatment, and again at the end, clinicians must check the dosages of any accompanying medications with which rifampicin may potentially interact. Monitoring of clinical response and blood drug concentrations is essential to adjust the drug dosage during rifampicin therapy. Rifampicin also interacts with cholephils such as bilirubin and bromosulphthalein. Its pharmacokinetics are reported to be altered by ethambutol, p-aminosalicylic acid (through its excipient component), ketoconazole, cyclosporin, clofazimine, probenecid and phenobarbital through one or other of the following mechanisms--impaired absorption of rifampicin, competition between the drug and rifampicin for hepatic uptake and altered hepatic metabolism of rifampicin. Most interactions affecting rifampicin have been relatively minor or are not expected to alter its therapeutic efficacy.