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8 Foods to Avoid While Taking Xifaxan

Monday 6 November 2023
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is Xifaxan?

II. 8 Foods to Avoid While Taking Xifaxan

III. So, What Should You Eat While Taking Xifaxan?

IV. Save on Your Next Xifaxan Prescription

If you’ve ever dealt with GI issues like IBS-D or traveler’s diarrhea, you know that eliminating symptoms quickly and effectively is paramount. Xifaxan is one of the most effective drugs to do it, working quickly in the gut to target and eliminate unwanted pathogens. Because of its concentrated action in the gut and GI tract, knowing which foods to avoid while taking Xifaxan is essential to its efficacy.

In this guide, we’ll explain Xifaxan’s mechanism of action and go over 8 types of foods to avoid while taking Xifaxan so you can experience fast relief. Then, we’ll dive into things you should eat while taking Xifaxan to enhance its long-term effectiveness.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Xifaxan is preferred over other drugs for treating traveler’s diarrhea and IBS-D because it acts almost exclusively in the GI tract without entering the bloodstream.
  • Its mechanism of action is to prevent bacteria from producing the proteins it needs to multiply.
  • Foods to avoid while taking Xifaxan include dairy and high-fiber products, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, artificial sweeteners, and highly processed foods.
  • Foods you should eat while taking Xifaxan include lean proteins, cooked vegetables, low-fructose fruits, easily digestible grains, and probiotic-rich foods.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated and avoid overeating when taking Xifaxan.

What is Xifaxan?

Xifaxan (generic name rifaximin) is an antibiotic used to treat gastrointestinal (GI) infections, especially IBS-D and traveler’s diarrhea. It belongs to a class of antibiotics known as rifamycins, and it’s unique because of its minimal systemic absorption. In other words, it acts almost exclusively in the GI tract and doesn’t significantly enter into the bloodstream.

It’s mechanism of action is to stop unwanted pathogens in the gut from making proteins, which bacteria generally need to grow and multiply.

Graphic showing Xifaxan’s mechanism of action in the gut


Xifaxan’s limited systemic absorption offers the benefit of minimizing side effects like rashes, allergic reactions, or widespread antibiotic resistance. Still, side effects are not completely eliminated by Xifaxan, and its concentrated activity in the gut brings elevated concerns about food interactions.

Certain food categories, such as dairy, may bind with Xifaxan, reducing its absorption and thus its effectiveness. In addition, since Xifaxan aims to address GI disturbances, it's important to avoid types of foods that are known to aggravate the gut or exacerbate GI symptoms.

In the next section, we’ll walk through 8 specific types of foods to avoid while taking Xifaxan.

8 Foods to Avoid While Taking Xifaxan

To ensure Xifaxan is effective and experience faster symptom relief, it’s important to avoid the following types of foods and beverages while taking the medication:

Dairy Products

Dairy products, especially those rich in calcium, can interfere with Xifaxan absorption. Calcium can bind with the medication, potentially reducing its therapeutic effect. If dairy is a regular part of your diet, consider spacing its intake several hours apart from Xifaxan to minimize interaction.

High-Fiber Foods

While fiber is essential for digestive health, excessive intake while on Xifaxan may exacerbate bloating and gas, particularly in IBS-D patients. It's prudent to monitor your fiber intake to ensure it doesn't amplify your symptoms.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can irritate the digestive tract. For patients already dealing with conditions like traveler's diarrhea, spicy foods might further aggravate their symptoms, making recovery slower while on Xifaxan.

Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine can speed up the passage of stools in the intestines. Combining caffeine with Xifaxan might disrupt its retention in the gastrointestinal system, potentially diminishing its efficacy.


Alcohol can irritate the gut and often diminishes the effectiveness of medications. While on Xifaxan, it's best to reduce or eliminate alcohol to allow the drug to work optimally and to prevent potential exacerbation of gastrointestinal symptoms.

Fatty Foods

Foods high in fats might exacerbate diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues in patients. It's advisable to minimize such foods while on Xifaxan to support the drug's function and to alleviate potential symptoms.

Artificial Sweeteners

Certain sweeteners, like sorbitol, are known to cause diarrhea in some people. When taking Xifaxan, it's wise to avoid products containing such sweeteners to ensure that the medication's efficacy isn't undermined.

Processed Foods

High in additives and low in nutrition, processed foods might upset the delicate balance of the gut, particularly in patients with sensitive digestive systems. Opting for more natural, whole foods during your Xifaxan regimen might offer more predictable and positive results.

So, What Should You Eat While Taking Xifaxan?

Navigating dietary choices while on medication can feel like a daunting task, especially with the restrictions in mind. However, taking Xifaxan doesn't mean you can't enjoy a diverse, nutritious diet. Here's a guide to what your meals should ideally include:

  • Lean Proteins: Embrace sources like chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu. These are easy on the digestive system and provide essential nutrients without triggering unpleasant symptoms.
  • Cooked Vegetables: While raw veggies can be harder to digest, cooking them makes them gentler on the gut. Opt for non-cruciferous varieties such as carrots, zucchini, and spinach. Remember to cook them until they're soft to ease digestion.
  • Easily Digestible Grains: Quinoa, rice, and oats are excellent choices. They're not only gentle on the stomach but also offer sustained energy and vital nutrients.
  • Probiotic-Rich Foods: Natural yogurts, kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi can support gut health, potentially enhancing the benefits of Xifaxan.
  • Low-Fructose Fruits: Fruits such as berries, bananas, and melons are easier on the gut than those high in fructose, like apples and pears.

In addition to sticking with these gut-safe foods, ensure you're drinking plenty of water to aid digestion and combat potential dehydration, especially if diarrhea is a symptom. Avoid overeating as well. Smaller, more frequent meals can be more digestible than having three large ones.

Remember, while on Xifaxan, the goal is to find a balance that caters to your body's needs. It's all about choosing foods that are gentle on the digestive system, offer essential nutrients, and promote overall well-being. As always, consult with your healthcare provider about specific dietary choices, while taking Xifaxan, especially if you have other health concerns or conditions.

Save on Your Next Xifaxan Prescription

Xifaxan is a preferred brand-name drug that lands on the highest tiers of most insurance and Medicare drug formularies. That means that even with insurance coverage (which isn’t always guaranteed), Xifaxan still comes with high out-of-pocket copay costs.

At My Drug Center, you can get your Xifaxan prescription at a significantly more affordable cost. Learn more about how My Drug Center can help you save today.

The information in the article is not meant to be used for treatment or diagnosis. It is designed for general awareness and for information purposes only. Always consult a medical professional for your specific healthcare needs.