Polymyxin - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Polymyxin: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Polymyxin?

Polymyxins belong to a group of polypeptide antibiotics that consists of five different compounds, Polymyxin A–E. Colistin or Polymyxin E is the first drug in this class, discovered in 1949. Presently, only Polymyxin B and Colistin are used clinically. These drugs are produced by Bacillus spp.

Polymyxin B is used to cure bacterial infections, including eye, blood, urinary tract, and meningitis.

Polymyxin B is a neurotoxic and nephrotoxic antibiotic. It is used as a last option when other modern antibiotics are ineffectual. Since the drug is less effective against gram-negative bacteria, it is combined with other drugs to enhance its effectiveness.

What are the Uses of Polymyxin?

Polymyxin is used to treat infections of various kinds such as UTI, infections of ears and skin, meningitis, or infections caused by scrapes or burns. However, it should not be used in vast areas of the body. It is highly recommended to seek medical advice before using this medication.

Polymyxins contain antibiotics such as neomycin, bacitracin, and Polymyxin, which curb the growth of bacteria. Hence, these drugs are only effective against bacterial skin infections and ineffective against other forms of skin infections caused due to fungi or viruses.

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What are the Side Effects of Polymyxin?

Patients using Polymyxin may show some side effects such as –

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Temporary eye-stinging/itchiness
  • Temporary blurred vision, if used as eye drops

Apart from the above side effects, if you experience the below-mentioned side effects, contact your doctor at the earliest:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Back pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Hives
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

Polymyxin should be used in recommended doses or amounts only. It should not be used for a longer period than directed as the risk for side effects may be increased. If your problem persists even after a week of using this medicine, contact your doctor. You may also seek the opinion of our expert doctors at Yashoda Hospitals for the effective resolution of your conditions.


Frequently Asked Questions about Polymyxin

1. Can Polymyxin be given in normal saline?

Administration of Polymyxin B intravenously can be done by reconstituting the lyophilized powder (500,000 IU) with sterile water. The infusion of this mixture must be made in 300 to 500 mL solutions of either 0.9% saline or 5% glucose.

2. Is imipenem a Polymyxin?

Polymyxin belongs to a group of cationic polypeptide antibiotics, whereas Imipenem is a beta-lactam antibiotic belonging to the subgroup of carbapenems.

3. Does Polymyxin affect human cells?

Polymyxin affects the human cells by reacting with the cell membranes, which can lead to neurotoxicity and kidney damage. The availability of better antibiotics limits the use of Polymyxins.

4. How long does it take for Polymyxin drops to work?

One should notice an improvement within two days for most eye infections. For ear infections, the improvement is visible within a few days.

5. Is Colistin a Polymyxin antibiotic?

Although Colistin and Polymyxin have a similar structure, there are some distinct differences between both formulations. Polymyxin B is administered to a patient intravenously as a sulfate salt, while colistin is administered as a pro-drug in the form of Colistin Methanesulfonate (CMS).

6. Is Polymyxin Penicillin?

Polymyxins are a group of polypeptide antibiotics used to treat various infections caused by gram-negative bacteria, which are resistant to Penicillin and other broad-spectrum antibiotics.

7. Is Polymyxin an Aminoglycoside?

Polymyxin is a polypeptide antibiotic used to treat serious infections caused by gram-negative bacteria. It is recommended only when the patient has developed resistance to less toxic and commonly used antibiotics. Otherwise, Aminoglycoside antibiotics are generally the choice of drugs for treating bacterial infections.

8. Is Polymyxin the same as Polytrim?

POLYTRIM® is a brand name for a sterile antimicrobial solution of Polymyxin B sulfate and trimethoprim ophthalmic solution, intended for topical ophthalmic use.

9. Are Polymyxin and Polysporin the same?

Polysporin is the combination of bacitracin and Polymyxin B. These two antibiotics kill bacteria by weakening the bacteria's membrane.

10. Can a pregnant woman take Polymyxin?

Polymyxin B is advised to a pregnant woman by injection only when its benefits outweigh the risks. To date, no harmful effects on the fetus have been observed in animal studies. However, no well-constructive studies have been done on pregnant women.



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      Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.