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What Is Tobramycin Inhalation Solution Used For?

Healthcare providers prescribe tobramycin inhalation solution to treat a certain bacterial infection in people who have cystic fibrosis. Specifically, this antibiotic is designed to kill the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa in adults and children as young as six years old. There are also off-label (unapproved) uses for tobramycin inhalation solution, including the treatment for lung infections in people who do not have cystic fibrosis.


An Overview of Uses for Tobramycin Inhalation Solution

Tobramycin inhalation solution (Bethkis®, Tobi®) is a prescription inhaled antibiotic that belongs to a group of medicines known as aminoglycosides. It is approved to treat people with cystic fibrosis whose lungs are infected with a type of bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that mainly affects the lungs, but can also affect other organs, including the pancreas, intestines, and liver. People with cystic fibrosis have a defective gene that causes the body to produce abnormally thick and sticky mucus. The abnormal mucus builds up the lungs and pancreas, leading to a variety of complications (see Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms to learn about the possible symptoms of this condition).
In the lungs, the thick, sticky mucus blocks the airways and traps bacteria. This leads to repeated serious lung infections. Over time, these infections can cause serious damage to the lungs.
One of the most common lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis is an infection with the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Tobramycin inhalation solution is an important part of cystic fibrosis treatment because the drug is effective against P. aeruginosa. It can help reduce the amount of bacteria in the lungs. In clinical studies, people treated with tobramycin inhalation solution had improved lung function, spent fewer days in the hospital, and were less likely to need intravenous antibiotics to treat their infection.
(Click Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis to learn about other commonly used cystic fibrosis treatments.)
Tobramycin clinical studies did not include people with severe cystic fibrosis or people who had Burkholderia cepacia bacteria in their lungs. Therefore, it is not entirely known whether the medication is effective for these people.
There are a couple of different tobramycin inhalation solution products available: Bethkis and Tobi. These products differ in the amount of the active drug they contain per mL of solution (their concentration). For example, Bethkis contain 300 mg of tobramycin per 4 mL inhalation solution, and Tobi contains 300 mg of tobramycin per 5 mL inhalation solution.
Both tobramycin inhalation solution medicines come in the form of a liquid that is packaged in small plastic containers called ampules. Each ampule contains enough medicine for one dose (300 mg). The liquid medicine is turned into a fine mist with the use of a nebulizer and an air compressor. The fine mist is breathed into the mouth through the nebulizer, and quickly reaches the lungs.
Because tobramycin inhalation solution must be used with an air compressor and a nebulizer, it is essential that you not only know about tobramycin inhalation solution, but also learn exactly how to use and care for these devices. Your healthcare provider will show you how to use them. Make sure to ask questions if anything isn't clear.  

Tobramycin Nebulizer Information

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