Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Rifampicin reduces effectiveness and bioavailability of prednisolone.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 19 March 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:923
  1. W A McAllister,
  2. P J Thompson,
  3. S M Al-Habet,
  4. H J Rogers


    Rifampicin is an inducer of hepatic drug metabolising enzymes. This results in interactions with several drugs including oral anticoagulants, hypoglycaemics, and contraceptives. Concurrent treatment with prednisolone and rifampicin is given when tuberculosis coexists with a disease that is sensitive to steroids, when the diagnosis is uncertain, or occasionally in the treatment of severe tuberculosis. Two patients with respiratory disease were treated with both drugs: their condition improved considerably after rifampicin was withdrawn. Seven patients were then studied to assess the effect of rifampicin on the pharmacokinetics of prednisolone. Overall, rifampicin increased the plasma clearance of prednisolone by 45% and reduced the amount of drug available to the tissues (area under the plasma concentration time curve) by 66%. The effectiveness of prednisolone may be considerably reduced when rifampicin and prednisolone are used in combination.