Effectiveness and safety of colistin among older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2022 Jul 28;77(8):2094-2104. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkac145.


Objectives: Limited data are available to guide colistin use in older adults (>65 years old). We aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of colistin in this population.

Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis of original data from randomized control trials, cohort studies and case-control studies assessing colistin regimens with various comparisons for any infection. Original data were obtained from corresponding authors of original studies. The primary outcome was all-cause 1 month mortality; secondary outcomes included clinical and microbiological outcomes and adverse events, including acute kidney injury. Two independent reviewers screened citations, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. ORs with 95% CIs were pooled.

Results: We included 38 publications (41 comparisons) reporting 2857 elderly individuals: 29 studies compared a colistin-based regimen versus another regimen (comparison 1) and 10 compared colistin monotherapy versus colistin combination (comparison 2). No significant difference in 1 month mortality was demonstrated between colistin and comparator (comparison 1, OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.80-1.60; comparison 2, OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.78-1.27). Clinical failure was significantly more likely with colistin-based therapy versus comparator (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.13-2.06). Acute kidney injury was also significantly more common with colistin-based combinations versus other drugs (OR 3.81, 95% CI 2.14-6.77).

Conclusions: For older adults, colistin-based therapy resulted in no mortality difference, compared with other regimens, for any infection. Clinical failure and acute kidney injury were significantly more common with colistin-based regimens. Close renal function monitoring is needed while using colistin in older adults.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / chemically induced
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / drug therapy
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colistin* / adverse effects
  • Humans


  • Colistin