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Colistimethate sodium for the treatment of chronic pulmonary infection in cystic fibrosis: an evidence-based review of its place in therapy

Authors Koerner-Rettberg C, Ballmann M

Received 27 March 2014

Accepted for publication 25 April 2014

Published 19 September 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 99—112

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CE.S64980

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Cordula Koerner-Rettberg, Manfred Ballmann

Department of Pediatric Pneumology, University Children’s Hospital of Ruhr University Bochum at St Josef-Hospital, Bochum, Germany

Abstract: Chronic bacterial respiratory-tract infections are a major driving force in the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease and promote chronic lung-function decline, destruction, and progression to respiratory failure at a premature age. Gram-negative bacteria colonizing the airways in CF are a major problem in CF therapy due to their tendency to develop a high degree of resistance to antibiotic agents over time. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the dominating bacterial strain infecting the CF lung from early childhood on, and multiresistant strains frequently develop after years of therapy. Colistin has been used for treating pulmonary bacterial infections in CF for decades due to its very good Gram-negative activity. However, drawbacks include concerns regarding toxicity when being applied systemically, and the lack of approval for application by inhalation in the USA for many years. Other antibiotic substances for systemic use are available with good to excellent Gram-negative and anti-Pseudomonas activity, while there are only three substances approved for inhalation use in the treatment of chronic pulmonary infection with proven benefit in CF. The emergence of multiresistant strains leaving nearly no antibiotic substance as a treatment option, the limited number of antibiotics with high activity against P. aeruginosa, the concerns about increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance by continuous antibiotic therapy, the development of new drug formulations and drug-delivery devices, and, finally, the differing treatment strategies used in CF centers call for defining the place of this “old” drug, colistimethate, in today’s CF therapy. This article reviews the available evidence to reflect on the place of colistimethate sodium in the therapy of chronic pulmonary infection in CF.

Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, treatment, multiresistant strains, Gram-negative bacteria, colistin

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