PRECAUTIONS General Since colistimethate for injection is eliminated mainly by renal excretion, it should be used with caution when the possibility of impaired renal function exists. The decline in renal function with advanced age should be considered. When actual renal impairment is present, colistimethate for injection may be used, but the greatest caution should be exercised and the dosage should be reduced in proportion to the extent of the impairment. Administration of amounts of colistimethate for injection in excess of renal excretory capacity will lead to high serum levels and can result in further impairment of renal function, initiating a cycle which, if not recognized, can lead to acute renal insufficiency, renal shutdown, and further concentration of the antibiotic to toxic levels in the body. At this point, interference of nerve transmission at neuromuscular junctions may occur and result in muscle weakness and apnea (see OVERDOSAGE section). Signs indicating the development of impaired renal function include: diminishing urine output, rising BUN and serum creatinine and decreased creatinine clearance. Therapy with colistimethate for injection should be discontinued immediately if signs of impaired renal function occur. However, if it is necessary to reinstate the drug, dosing should be adjusted accordingly after drug plasma levels have fallen (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section). Prescribing colistimethate for injection in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Drug Interactions Certain other antibiotics (aminoglycosides and polymyxin) have also been reported to interfere with the nerve transmission at the neuromuscular junction. Based on this reported activity, they should not be given concomitantly with colistimethate for injection except with the greatest caution. Curariform muscle relaxants (e.g., tubocurarine) and other drugs, including ether, succinylcholine, gallamine, decamethonium and sodium citrate, potentiate the neuromuscular blocking effect and should be used with extreme caution in patients being treated with colistimethate for injection. Sodium cephalothin may enhance the nephrotoxicity of colistimethate for injection. The concomitant use of sodium cephalothin and colistimethate for injection should be avoided. Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility Long-term animal carcinogenicity studies and genetic toxicology studies have not been performed with colistimethate sodium. There were no adverse effects on fertility or reproduction in rats at doses of 9.3 mg/kg/day (0.30 times the maximum daily human dose when based on mg/m2). Pregnancy Teratogenic Effects-Pregnancy Category C Colistimethate sodium given intramuscularly during organogenesis to rabbits at 4.15 and 9.3 mg/kg resulted in talipes varus in 2.6% and 2.9% of fetuses, respectively. These doses are 0.25 and 0.55 times the maximum daily human dose based on mg/m2. In addition, increased resorption occurred at 9.3 mg/kg. Colistimethate sodium was not teratogenic in rats at 4.15 or 9.3 mg/kg. These doses are 0.13 and 0.30 times the maximum daily human dose based on mg/m2. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Since colistimethate sodium is transferred across the placental barrier in humans, it should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Nursing Mothers It is not known whether colistimethate sodium is excreted in human breast milk. However, colistin sulphate is excreted in human breast milk. Therefore, caution should be exercised when colistimethate sodium is administered to nursing women. Geriatric Use Clinical studies of colistimethate sodium did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function. Pediatric Use In clinical studies, colistimethate sodium was administered to the pediatric population (neonates, infants, children and adolescents). Although adverse reactions appear to be similar in the adult and pediatric populations, subjective symptoms of toxicity may not be reported by pediatric patients. Close clinical monitoring of pediatric patients is recommended. Information for Patients Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including colistimethate for injection should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When colistimethate for injection is prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by colistimethate for injection or other antibacterial drugs in the future. Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics which usually ends when the antibiotic is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibiotic. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible.