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

23 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

Funding Information:
The project described was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant numbers UL1TR000117 and UL1TR001998. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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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