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November 1961

Colistin(Coly-Mycin) in Resistant Bacterial Infections: A 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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