Synergistic antibiotic combination powders of colistin and rifampicin provide high aerosolization efficiency and moisture protection

Qi Tony Zhou, Thomas R Gengenbach, John A Denman, Heidi Yu, Jian Li, Hak Kim Chan

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56 Citations (Scopus)


For many respiratory infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, colistin is the only effective antibiotic despite its nephrotoxicity. A novel inhaled combination formulation of colistin with a synergistic antimicrobial component of rifampicin was prepared via co-spray drying, aiming to deliver the drug directly to the respiratory tract and minimize drug resistance and adverse effects. Synergistic antibacterial activity against Acinetobacter baumannii was demonstrated for the combination formulation with high emitted doses (96 ) and fine particle fraction total (FPFtotal; 92 ). Storage of the spray-dried colistin alone formulation in the elevated relative humidity (RH) of 75 resulted in a substantial deterioration in the aerosolization performance because the amorphous colistin powders absorbed significant amount of water up to 30 by weight. In contrast, the FPFtotal values of the combination formulation stored at various RH were unchanged, which was similar to the aerosolization behavior of the spray-dried rifampicin-alone formulation. Advanced surface chemistry measurements by XPS and ToF-SIMS demonstrated a dominance of rifampicin on the combination particle surfaces, which contributed to the moisture protection at the elevated RH. This study shows a novel inhalable powder formulation of antibiotic combination with the combined beneficial properties of synergistic antibacterial activity, high aerosolization efficiency, and moisture protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37 - 47
Number of pages11
JournalThe AAPS Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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