Inhaled colistin in patients with bronchiectasis and chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Apr 15;189(8):975-82. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201312-2208OC.


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 (ISRCTN49790596).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bronchiectasis / complications
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy*
  • Bronchiectasis / microbiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Colistin / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pseudomonas Infections / complications
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification
  • Quality of Life
  • Russia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Colistin

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN49790596