Merck Manual

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Polypeptides

Polypeptides

Drug

Common Uses

Some Side Effects

Bacitracin

Colistin

Polymyxin B

Ear, eye, or skin infections

Bladder infections (polymyxin B may be used for bladder irrigation)

Serious infections caused by susceptible bacteria that are very resistant to many other antibiotics (colistin and polymyxin B given by injection)

Kidney and nerve damage (when given by injection)*

* Polypeptide antibiotics are usually applied directly to the ears, skin, or eyes, but colistin and polymyxin B are sometimes given by injection when bacteria are resistant to all other antibiotics and no safer alternatives are available. Bacitracin is not available for injection.