Nephrotoxicity in patients with or without cystic fibrosis treated with Polymyxin B compared to colistin

Ryan L. Crass, W. Cliff Rutter, Donna R. Burgess, Craig A. Martin, David S. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Nephrotoxicity is the primary adverse effect of the polymyxins. The relative rates of toxicity of polymyxin B and colistin have not been fully elucidated, especially in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). A retrospective cohort study of adults treated with polymyxin B or colistin for at least 48 h was conducted. The primary endpoint was the incidence of kidney injury assessed by RIFLE (i.e., risk, injury, failure, loss, end-stage renal disease) criteria. Risk factors for kidney injury were evaluated using multivariate Cox regression. A total of 414 patients were evaluated, 220 of whom had CF. In patients without CF, there was no difference in kidney injury with polymyxin B and colistin (42.9% versus 50.3%, P = 0.46). Loop diuretic exposure was a risk factor for kidney injury (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 2.83) in this population. In patients with CF, polymyxin B and colistin were associated with similar rates of kidney injury (34.5% versus 29.8%, P = 0.77). Diabetes (aHR, 2.68; 95% CI, 1.01 to 7.11), loop diuretics (aHR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.36 to 6.73), and progressive care unit admission (aHR, 8.21; 95% CI, 2.55 to 26.46) were risk factors for kidney injury, while higher baseline serum creatinine levels (per 1 mg/dl) were protective (aHR, 0.08; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.48). Total unadjusted kidney injury in polymyxin-treated patients was less frequent in those who had CF (30.5% versus 48.5%, P < 0.001). Polymyxin B and colistin are associated with a high incidence of kidney injury; cystic fibrosis may be protective against polymyxin nephrotoxicity, but further investigation is needed to confirm this conjecture.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02329-16
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


  • Clinical therapeutics
  • Multidrug resistance
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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