Polymyxin B : Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, & Contraindications

Polymyxin B : Therapeutic uses, Clinical uses, Indications, Dosage, Side Effects, Warnings, Interactions, Precautions, Contraindications & Brand names

Polymyxin B is a polypeptide antibiotic obtained from Bacillus polymyxa. Little or no absorption occurs from oral route or even from denuded skin (burn, ulcers).
Dose : 15,000- 30,000 units/kg/day
Route : Parenteral (IM, IV), Ophthalmic, Otic, Topical
Onset of action : ?
Plasma Half-life : ?
Duration of action : ?
Bioavailability : ?
Plasma protein binding : ?
Metabolism : ?
Pregnancy risk category : C
Chemical formula : C56H100N16O17S
IUPAC name : N-[4-amino-1-[[1-[[4-amino-1-oxo-1-[[6,9,18-tris(2-aminoethyl)-15-benzyl-3-(1-hydroxyethyl)-12-(2-methylpropyl)-2,5,8,11,14,17,20-heptaoxo-1,4,7,10,13,16,19-heptazacyclotricos-21-yl]amino]butan-2-yl]amino]-3-hydroxy-1-oxobutan-2-yl]amino]-1-oxobutan-2-yl]-6-methyloctanamide
Trade name : Neosporin, Aerosporin
Antibacterial spectrum : Polymyxin B is active against gram-negative bacteria only. It is active against most clinically important gram-negative bacteria except Proteus, Serratia and Neisseria. Polymyxin B is a rapidly acting concentration-dependent bactericidal agents.
Therapeutic uses : Polymyxins have following uses :

  • Topically : Usually in combination with other antimicrobials for skin infections, burns, otitis externa, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer-caused by gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas.
  • Orally : Gram-negative bacillary (E. coli, Salmonella Shigella) diarrhoeas, especially in infants and children, Pseudomonas superinfection enteritis.

Mechanism of action : Polymyxins have high affinity for phospholipids. They have detergent-like action on the cell membrane & bind to phospholipids on the bacterial cell membrane of gram-negative bacteria causing membrane distortion or pseudopore formation i.e. disrupts cell membrane integrity. It leads to leakage of cellular components (ions, amino acids, etc.) & ultimately cell death.
Sensitive bacteria take up more of the antibiotic. Polymyxins may also inactivate the bacterial endotoxin. They exhibit synergism with many other AMAs by improving their penetration into the bacterial cell.
Resistance : Resistance to polymyxins has never been a problem. There is no cross resistance with any other AMA. However, alterations in the cell membrane lipid polysaccharides allow many species of Proteus and Serratia to be intrinsically resistant.
Side effects : The use of polymyxins drugs has been limited for a long time, due to the increased risk of nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity (for example, slurred speech, muscle weakness) when used systemically. However, with the increase in gram-negative resistance, they have seen a resurgence in use and are now commonly used as salvage therapy for patients with multidrug-resistant infections. Careful dosing and monitoring of adverse effects are important to maximize the safety and efficacy of these agents.

  • Applied topically, they are safe-no systemic effect or sensitization occurs. A rash is rare.
  • When given orally, polymyxin B may cause occasional nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.
  • When injected, polymyxin B may cause high toxicity such as flushing and paresthesias (due to liberation of histamine from mast cells), marked kidney damage, neurological disturbances, neuromuscular blockade.


Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist

  • If you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.
  • Your medical history.

Drug Interactions

  • Contraindicated in parsons having hypersensitivity to any component of formulation.

For detailed query or in case of uncertainty, Always consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Doctoralerts is dedicated to empower every person with the knowledge of medical health by providing precise, credible & valuable health information to better manage their own health status & thereby, improvement in health status of community.



Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved | DoctorAlerts does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

To Top