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October 26, 1970

Colistin Sulfate and Sodium Colistimethate

Author Affiliations

Warner-Chilcott Laboratory Morris Plains, NJ

JAMA. 1970;214(4):763. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180040065028

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To the Editor.—  We wish only to call attention to one small error in an otherwise fine report. The statement by Hardy et al (212:1345, 1970) is made that the infant received "colistin sulfate 4 mg/day intramuscularly."There are two considerably different forms of the antibiotic colistin available. First is colistin sulfate which is essentially the sulfate salt of the colistin base. Second is the methane sulfonate derivative of this base, namely, colistimethate sodium. The former product is referred to as Coly-Mycin S Oral Suspension and is used only for the treatment of enteric infections. Because of its toxicity, it is never administered intramuscularly. The second product is referred to as Coly-Mycin M Intramuscular (Injectable) which has a considerably lesser toxicity and is the form generally used for intramuscular systemic therapy.Admittedly, the similarity of the names for both forms of this antibiotic leads easily to confusion but, in