Colistin Antibiotic

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 31, 2022, 10:17

Colistin Antibiotic is a drug used to treat patients who have serious infections from multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Around 95% of its import comes from China since it is the largest manufacturer of Colistin. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers Colistin as the highest priority critically important antimicrobial for human beings.

Colistin Antibiotic - Overview

Colistin Antibiotic is also known as polymyxin E. It breaks down the cytoplasmic membrane, which causes the death of a bacterial cell. As it has significant side effects like Kidney toxicity, it is only used as a last resort. Serious side effects of using Colistin Antibiotics are kidney problems, neurological problems, anaphylaxis, muscle weakness, etc.

Colistin Antibiotic Forms

It has two forms :

  1. Colistimethate sodium - It can treat saviour diseases like Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter infection, and infections caused by carbapenem-resistant isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii. This can be used by inhaling, injecting into the muscle, and injecting into the vein.
  2. Colistin sulphate - It can treat intestinal infections, suppress colonic flora, and use topical creams, otic solutions, and topical powders. This can be used by directly applying to the skin or taken by mouth.

In 1970 Colistimethate sodium got approved for medical use in the US.

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Ban of Colistin Antibiotic

This strong antibiotic has been misused in India’s livestock industry to prevent diseases and promote the growth of animals. India is the fourth largest ranked country in the world on the use of Colistin Antibiotics in farm animals.

A 2017 global study on the use of Colistin Antibiotics in animals made a project that states this Colistin Antibiotic consumption will be doubled from 2013 to 23.

To prohibit the use of this drug as veterinary medicine for farm animals, Drugs Technical Advisory Board and The National Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan committee gave their recommendation to the government because Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) is the highest statutory decision-making body on matters related to drugs in the country.

DTAB is constituted as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, which is a part of CDSCO in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Drug and Domestic Act 1940, and a ban has been imposed under this Act. For successful implementation of this ban, farmers should be aware of the negative consequences and associated dangers of using Colistin Antibiotics in animal feed.

The Ministry, by way of issue of notification, has prohibited the manufacture, distribution, and formulation of this Colistin in India.

Also, instructions have been issued for manufacturing Colistin in a conspicuous manner by mentioning the name on the labels, package inserts, and adding “should not be used in food-producing animals, poultry, aquafarming, and animal feed supplements” to the package.

Reasons for the Ban of Colistin Antibiotics in Animals

  • Unwanted use of Colistin as a growth booster in an animal such as poultry and fish.
  • In agriculture, a litter of poultry is used as a fertilizer which leads to contamination in vegetables.
  • If we eat foods that have Colistin, then our body will develop resistance to the antibiotic.

Just like how every coin has two sides, the use of Colistin has two-fold consequences too. The initiative of the Ministry to prohibit the use of this drug in farming and poultry is necessary in order to stop the negative consequence to get out of hand and creating problems in the future.

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FAQs on Colistin Antibiotic

Q.1. What are the 2 forms of Colistin Antibiotic?

The two forms of Colistin Antibiotic are colistimethate sodium and colistin sulfate.

Q.2. How much Colistin was imported from China?

Around 95% of Colistin Antibiotic was imported from China.

Q.3. Why was Colistin Antibiotic used in animals?

Colistin Antibiotic was used as a growth booster for poultry and fish.

Q.4. Who gave a recommendation to the Ministry for the ban of Colistin Antibiotic?

The Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) gave the recommendation for the ban of Colistin Antibiotic to the Ministry.