The aim of the present study was to perform a proof of principle study with a new colistin dry powder inhalation system in six healthy volunteers and five patients with cystic fibrosis. All subjects were asked to inhale 25 mg colistin sulfate dry powder. The patients were also asked to nebulize 160 mg colistin sulfomethate as a solution. Colistin serum concentrations were determined as an indirect parameter to compare both forms of administration. Pulmonary function tests were performed. Peak serum colistin concentrations ranged from 14 to 59 microg/l in volunteers after inhalation of 25 mg as dry powder. In patients, peak concentrations ranged from 18 to 64 microg/l after nebulization of 160 mg colistin sulfomethate solution and from 77 to 159 microg/l after inhalation of 25 mg colistin sulfate dry powder. Pulmonary function tests were not significantly different after inhalation of the dry powder by the volunteers nor after nebulization of the solution by the patients. In some patients a decrease in pulmonary function and moderate to severe cough was observed after inhalation of the dry powder. The new colistin inhaler provides an attractive alternative for nebulized colistin and was highly appreciated by the patients. The decrease in pulmonary function and cough in patients is a drawback, which may be overcome by dose reduction and a further improvement of the new dosage form.