Study objective: Inhaled colistin is used for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients despite reports of chest tightness and bronchospasm. The main objective of the study was to assess whether bronchospasm occurred in pediatric CF patients with or without clinical evidence of airway hyperreactivity.
Design and methods: A prospective placebo-controlled clinical trial with crossover design was devised using challenge tests with 75 mg colistin in 4 mL saline solution and a placebo solution of the same osmolarity using a breath-enhanced nebulizer for administration. Subjects were recruited as follows: high risk (HR) for bronchospasm due to a personal history of recurrent wheezing, a family history of asthma and/or atopy, or bronchial lability, as demonstrated in pulmonary function tests; or low risk (LR) without these characteristics.
Results: The mean FEV1 (expressed as the mean [± SD] fall from baseline) of the HR group (n = 12) fell 12 ± 9% after placebo was administered, and fell 17 ± 10% after colistin was administered. For the LR group (n = 8), the mean FEV1 fell 9 ± 4% following placebo administration and 13 ± 8% following colistin administration. There was a greater number of subjects in the HR group compared to the LR group, which had a mean fall in FEV1 of ≥ 15% (p < 0.01) after inhaling colistin. The differences between placebo and colistin therapy in the LR group were not significant.
Conclusion: The results demonstrated that colistin can cause bronchospasm, particularly in those patients with coexisting CF and asthma.