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November 1961

Colistin(Coly-Mycin) in Resistant Bacterial InfectionsA Clinical Appraisal

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Baylor University College of Medicine, and The Ben Taub Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, Jefferson Davis Hospital.

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(5):664-670. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620110004002

Among the new antibiotics investigated clinically in Houston during the past two years, colistin (Coly-Mycin) has been one of the most promising. This antibiotic was isolated in Japan by Yosuo Koyama in 1950 from culture filtrates of Bacillus colistinus, a bacterium closely related to Bacillus polymyxa, the source of the polymyxins. Its pharmacology has been studied in Japan, Italy, France, and, more recently, this country. A summary of the findings of these studies indicates that the chemical, pharmacological, and antimicrobial activity of colistin is closely related to the polymyxins, Clinically, however, colistin causes fewer undesirable side-effects.

Colistin is a complex polypeptide, with an empirical formula of C45H85O10N13 and a molecular weight of 969. Its acid salts are stable in solution even for very long periods; alkaline salts are less stable. It is available as colistin sulfate for oral and ophthalmic use, and as

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