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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2008 Sep;52(9):3047-51. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00103-08. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Stability of colistin methanesulfonate in pharmaceutical products and solutions for administration to patients.

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  • 1Facility for Anti-Infective Drug Development and Innovation, Drug Delivery, Disposition and Dynamics, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Colistin methanesulfonate (CMS) has the potential to hydrolyze in aqueous solution to liberate colistin, its microbiologically active and more toxic parent compound. While conversion of CMS to colistin in vivo is important for bactericidal activity, liberation of colistin during storage and/or use of pharmaceutical formulations may potentiate the toxicity of CMS. To date, there has been no information available regarding the stability of CMS in pharmaceutical preparations. Two commercial CMS formulations were investigated for stability with respect to colistin content, which was measured by a specific high-performance liquid chromatography method. Coly-Mycin M Parenteral (colistimethate lyophilized powder) was stable (<0.1% of CMS present as colistin) for at least 20 weeks at 4 degrees C and 25 degrees C at 60% relative humidity. When Coly-Mycin M was reconstituted with 2 ml of water to a CMS concentration of 200 mg/ml for injection, Coly-Mycin M was stable (<0.1% colistin formed) for at least 7 days at both 4 degrees C and 25 degrees C. When further diluted to 4 mg/ml in a glucose (5%) or saline (0.9%) infusion solution as directed, CMS hydrolyzed faster at 25 degrees C (<4% colistin formed after 48 h) than at 4 degrees C (0.3% colistin formed). The second formulation, CMS Solution for Inhalation (77.5 mg/ml), was stable at 4 degrees C and 25 degrees C for at least 12 months, as determined based on colistin content (<0.1%). This study demonstrated the concentration- and temperature-dependent hydrolysis of CMS. The information provided by this study has important implications for the formulation and clinical use of CMS products.

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