Colistimethate Injection (patient information)

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About your treatment

Your doctor has ordered colistimethate, an antibiotic, to help treat your infection. The drug will be either injected directly into a vein through a needle or catheter or added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter into a vein. You will either receive a continuous dose of this medication through your intravenous fluids or receive it two to four times a day.

Colistimethate eliminates bacteria that cause many kinds of infections. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how you respond to the medication.


Before administering colistimethate:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to colistimethate or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antibiotics including amikacin (Amikin), cephalothin, gentamicin (Garamycin), netilmicin (Netromycin), tobramycin (Nebcin), amphotericin B (Fungizone), capreomycin (Capostat), polymixin B (Aerosporin); and vancomycin (Vancocin); succinylcholine; tubocurarine; and vitamins or herbal products.
  • tell your doctor if you have or ever have had kidney disease or myasthenia gravis.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking colistimethate, call your doctor.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how colistimethate will affect you.
  • you should know that this medication could cause severe muscle weakness and breathing difficulties if not used properly. Follow your health care provider's instructions to help avoid these effects.

Administering your medication

Before you administer colistimethate, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks.

Do not use the solution if it is discolored or if it contains particles. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.

It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not stop your therapy on your own for any reason because your infection could worsen and result in hospitalization. Do not administer it more often than or for longer periods than your doctor tells you. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.

Side effects

Minor side effects

Colistimethate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • dizziness
  • itching
  • hives
  • rash
  • fever
  • muscle weakness
  • upset stomach
  • discomfort at injection site

Severe side effects

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • diarrhea
  • decreased urination
  • numbness and tingling of the extremities and tongue
  • change in urine color
  • dizziness
  • difficulty walking
  • blurred vision
  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing
  • rash

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

Storing your medication

Your health care provider will probably give you a several-day supply of colistimethate at a time. You will be told how to prepare each dose. Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.

Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of the reach of children. Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury..

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Signs of infection

If you are receiving colistimethate in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your health care provider as soon as possible:

  • tenderness
  • warmth
  • irritation
  • drainage
  • redness
  • swelling
  • pain

Brand names

  • Coly-Mycin® M Parenteral