European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 71, Issue 7, pp 801–810 | Cite as

A review on colistin nephrotoxicity

  • Atefeh Ordooei Javan
  • Shervin Shokouhi
  • Zahra Sahraei
Review Article



Colistin is an antibiotic that was introduced many years ago and was withdrawn because of its nephrotoxicity. Nowadays, reemergence of this antibiotic for multi-drug resistant Gram-negative infections, and a new high dosing regimen recommendation increases concern about its nephrotoxicity. This review attempts to give a view on colistin nephrotoxicity, its prevalence especially in high doses, the mechanism of injury, risk factors, and prevention of this kidney injury.


The data collection was done in PubMed, Scopus and Cochrane databases. The keywords for search terms were “colistin”, “nephrotoxicity”, “toxicity”, “renal failure”, “high dose”, and “risk factor”. Randomized clinical trials and prospective or retrospective observational animal and human studies were included. In all, 60 articles have been reviewed.

Result and conclusion

Colistin is a nephrotoxic antibiotic; a worldwide increase in nosocomial infections has led to an increase in its usage. Nephrotoxicity is the concerning adverse effect of this drug. The mechanism of nephrotoxicity is via an increase in tubular epithelial cell membrane permeability, which results in cation, anion and water influx leading to cell swelling and cell lysis. There are also some oxidative and inflammatory pathways that seem to be involved in colistin nephrotoxicity. Risk factors of colistin nephrotoxicity can be categorized as dose and duration of colistin therapy, co-administration of other nephrotoxic drugs, and patient-related factors such as age, sex, hypoalbuminemia, hyperbilirubinemia, underlying disease and severity of patient illness.


Colistin Nephrotoxicity Adverse effect Risk factor Incidence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atefeh Ordooei Javan
    • 1
  • Shervin Shokouhi
    • 2
  • Zahra Sahraei
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of PharmacyShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Infectious Disease, Loghman HospitalShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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