Aerosolized antibiotics for non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis

J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2008 Mar;21(1):71-6. doi: 10.1089/jamp.2007.0652.


There are strong data supporting using the use of aerosolized antibiotics for the treatment of Gram-negative infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). The regular use of aerosol tobramycin or colistin can decrease exacerbations of lung disease, decrease bacteria counts, and improve pulmonary function in persons with CF and Pseudomonas aeruginosa airway infection. Bronchiectasis is caused by reoccurring or continuous presence of bacteria in association with airway obstruction. Although CF is the most common cause of childhood bronchiectasis, there are many other causes. Because secretions in the bronchiectasis airway are similar to the pus found in the CF airway, and because pulmonary complications and progression of disease in non-CF bronchiectasis is similar to CF bronchiectasis, many centers treat patients with bronchiectasis using aerosolized tobramycin solution for inhalation (TSI). There have been only a few small studies of aerosolized antibiotics to treat pseudomonas infection in subjects with non-CF bronchiectasis. Unlike the CF experience, there does not seem to be an improvement of pulmonary function after treatment with aerosol tobramycin in this population despite a decreased sputum bacterial density and a trend toward a decrease in risk of hospitalization. Furthermore, the risk of adverse events such as bronchospasm may be more common in adults with non-CF bronchiectasis than reported in the CF population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tobramycin / administration & dosage


  • Aerosols
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Tobramycin