The Food and Drug Administration has approved Xifaxan, a drug for treatment of traveler’s diarrhea that was licensed by Salix Pharmaceuticals.

Raleigh-based Salix licensed the drug Rifaximin from Alfa Wassermann S.p.A. The drug was approved for use in ital in 1987 and is now available in 17 countries.

The pills are for use by patients 12 years of age or older. Salix said it hopes to have the drug available for sale in August.

“We have been working diligently in preparation for this event and look forward to the launch of Xifaxan with great anticipation,” said Carolyn Logan, president and chief executive officer, of Salix. “We are positioned to leverage our established presence in the marketplace as our 100-member sales and marketing team launches Xifaxan. Clearly, Xifaxan’s approval should serve as a key driver toward Salix’s goal of profitability for 2004.”

The company said it is evaluating use of the drug for treatment of other gastrointestinal problems.