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A patient’s guide to administering nebulised colomycin (colistimethate sodium) at home

Read our guide below about using colomycin at home.

You can also download a PDF version of this patient information by following the link on the right.

What is colomycin?

It’s an antibiotic. Nebulised (misted) colomycin will help fight infections in your sputum (phlegm). Your chest consultant will have recommended this treatment for you.

Why is it used?

Medication via a nebuliser and compressor allows treatment delivery directly into the lungs.

How does a nebuliser work?

Nebuliser systems consist of two parts; a nebuliser pot or chamber and the nebuliser machine called a compressor.

The compressor forces air through the chamber which helps the liquid medication turn into a fine mist, which is then inhaled.

What you’ll need

This includes:

  • colomycin vials
  • 5mls sodium chloride 0.9% (normal saline)
  • nebuliser machine/compressor
  • nebuliser chamber, face mask and filter set.

Your GP will supply your vials and sodium chloride. You will get a nebuliser on loan.

How to prepare the colomycin

Step 1

Wash your hands with soap and water and dry fully before and after you prepare your colomycin.

Step 2

Flip the top off the colomycin vial. Carefully tear the silver cap from around the top of the vial and remove the rubber bung.

Step 3

Twist the top off the sodium chloride 0.9% (normal saline).

Step 4

Put the sodium chloride 0.9% (normal saline) into the vial of colomycin.

Step 5

Gently rotate the vial of diluted colomycin until all the powder is dissolved.

Step 6

Pour the liquid colomycin into the nebuliser chamber.

Step 7

Assemble the chamber, filter and mouthpiece. The colomycin is now ready to be nebulised.

Plan your treatment around your normal activities

How to administer the colomycin

Nebulise the colomycin in a well-ventilated room.

Step 1

Connect the nebuliser chamber and tubing to the compressor and switch the machine on.

Step 2

Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and breathe in and out normally.

Step 3

The treatment ends when the nebuliser begins to make a ‘spitting’ noise. This should take around 10 minutes.

The chamber pot may still have a little liquid left in it. This is normal.

Step 4

Clean the chamber after each use according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How to store Colomycin

You should store it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually in a cool dry place out of children’s reach.

What are the possible side effects?

These include coughing or wheezing. Some patients who develop severe wheezing with colomycin may need to take a medicine called Salbutamol before the colomycin.

If you start to wheeze whilst inhaling the nebulised colomycin, stop the nebuliser and use your reliever inhaler/nebuliser (Salbutamol).

Please read the information leaflet provided with the colomycin for further side effects. Talk to your GP if you develop severe wheezing using colomycin.

Do you provide the nebuliser machines?

Only on a short-term loan basis. We do not supply nebuliser machines on a permanent basis.

If you want to continue your treatment long term, you’ll need to buy your own machine. For more information, please discuss this with your nurse

About our patient information pages and leaflets

This patient advice is intended as general information only. We aim to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please note that it is subject to change.

Always check specific advice on any concerns you may have with your doctor.

Contact us

Buckinghamshire Integrated Respiratory Service (BIRS)
Opening times
Buckinghamshire Integrated Respiratory Service (BIRS)

01296 255670

Opening times

Monday to Friday, 8.15am to 6.30pm

Weekends and bank holidays, 9am to 4.30pm

If you need medical advice out of hours please dial 111.

In the event of an emergency please call 999.