Rationale: Chronic infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa is associated with an increased exacerbation frequency, a more rapid decline in lung function, and increased mortality in patients with bronchiectasis.
Objectives: To perform a randomized placebo-controlled study assessing the efficacy and safety of inhaled colistin in patients with bronchiectasis and chronic P. aeruginosa infection.
Methods: Patients with bronchiectasis and chronic P. aeruginosa infection were enrolled within 21 days of completing a course of antipseudomonal antibiotics for an exacerbation. Participants were randomized to receive colistin (1 million IU; n = 73) or placebo (0.45% saline; n = 71) via the I-neb twice a day, for up to 6 months.
Measurements and main results: The primary endpoint was time to exacerbation. Secondary endpoints included time to exacerbation based on adherence recorded by the I-neb, P. aeruginosa bacterial density, quality of life, and safety parameters. All analyses were on the intention-to-treat population. Median time (25% quartile) to exacerbation was 165 (42) versus 111 (52) days in the colistin and placebo groups, respectively (P = 0.11). In adherent patients (adherence quartiles 2-4), the median time to exacerbation was 168 (65) versus 103 (37) days in the colistin and placebo groups, respectively (P = 0.038). P. aeruginosa density was reduced after 4 (P = 0.001) and 12 weeks (P = 0.008) and the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire total score was improved after 26 weeks (P = 0.006) in the colistin versus placebo patients, respectively. There were no safety concerns.
Conclusions: Although the primary endpoint was not reached, this study shows that inhaled colistin is a safe and effective treatment in adherent patients with bronchiectasis and chronic P. aeruginosa infection. Clinical trial registered with http://www.isrctn.org/ (ISRCTN49790596).