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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2002 Nov;44(3):259-63.

Synergy of colistin with rifampin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole on multidrug-resistant Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.

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4th Department of Internal Medicine, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece.


Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is characterized by intrinsic resistance to a variety of antimicrobials. Therapeutic options are often limited particularly after the emergence of isolates resistant to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. The application of colistin for infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens is limited due to its toxicity. In order to evaluate the activity of the interaction of colistin with rifampin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole on S. maltophilia, 24 different isolates resistant to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole were in vitro exposed over-time to the combination of 1x and 4 x MIC of colistin with 2 microg/ml of rifampin or 2/38 microg/ml of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. The applied concentrations for rifampin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole reflect their mean serum levels. Synergy of colistin and rifampin was documented after the first two hours of bacterial growth for approximately 60% of isolates and it occurred with both applied concentrations of colistin. The interaction of colistin and rifampin prevented regrowth observed when single colistin was applied. Synergy of colistin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole was mainly found when colistin was applied at a concentration of 4 x MIC involving 41.7% of isolates after 24 h of growth. In the presence of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole bacterial regrowth, observed when single colistin was applied, was prevented. It is concluded that growth of multidrug-resistant S. maltophilia is significantly inhibited by the interaction of colistin and rifampin and to a lesser extent of colistin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. These results merit further study in both the animal model and the clinical setting.

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