Original Research

A retrospective review of colistin utilisation at a tertiary care academic hospital in South Africa

Liezl Majavie, Deanne Johnston, Angeliki Messina
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 36, No 1 | a205 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v36i1.205 | © 2021 Liezl Majavie, Deanne Johnston, Angeliki Messina | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 April 2020 | Published: 18 June 2021

About the author(s)

Liezl Majavie, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Deanne Johnston, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Angeliki Messina, Antimicrobial Stewardship unit, Netcare hospitals, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The use of the antibiotic colistin was increasing as a treatment option for multidrug-resistant (MDR) infections. Standardisation of colistin dosing and more appropriate record-keeping practices were required to fully assess the optimal usage of colistin. The aim of this study was to determine how and why colistin was used in the treatment of MDR infections in a tertiary care public hospital in South Africa (SA).

Methods: This cross-sectional retrospective record review described adult and paediatric patients who received colistin intravenously from 01 May 2016 to 31 April 2017. Information from patient records were captured on a data collection tool and analysed using descriptive statistics. Ethical approval was obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Results: A total of 43 patient records were reviewed. Acinetobacter baumannii was the most common organism isolated (85.2% adults and 62.5% paediatrics). Colistin was mostly prescribed for sepsis (18 adults and 15 paediatrics). Most adults (66.7%) received loading doses as recommended; however, there was a great variation in maintenance doses. Paediatric patients reviewed also showed varying dosing according to weight. The mean duration of colistin therapy was 10 days. Carbapenems were most commonly co-administered with colistin (58%).

Conclusion: The findings suggested that although colistin usage was restricted in the hospital, it was not adequately monitored or controlled. Doses prescribed were made at the discretion of prescribing doctors and differed to currently accepted guidelines. Improved record-keeping practices related to the monitoring of colistin use were required.


colistin; antimicrobials; antibiotics; colistin utilisation; multi-drug resistance; antibiotic resistance; antibiotic stewardship; human


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Crossref Citations

1. Colistin utilization at a tertiary hospital in South Africa: an opportunity for antimicrobial stewardship practices
Gaalebale Prudence Matshediso, Oyewole Christopher Durojaiye, Oladele Vincent Adeniyi
Journal of Medical Microbiology   vol: 73  issue: 6  year: 2024  
doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.001840