Linezolid (Page 3 of 7)

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of linezolid. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

  • Myelosuppression (including anemia, leukopenia, pancytopenia, and thrombocytopenia) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]; sideroblastic anemia.
  • Peripheral neuropathy, and optic neuropathy sometimes progressing to loss of vision [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
  • Lactic acidosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]. Although these reports have primarily been in patients treated for longer than the maximum recommended duration of 28 days, these events have also been reported in patients receiving shorter courses of therapy.
  • Serotonin syndrome has been reported in patients receiving concomitant serotonergic agents, including antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and linezolid [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
  • Convulsions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)].
  • Anaphylaxis, angioedema, and bullous skin disorders including severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCAR) such as toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
  • Superficial tooth discoloration and tongue discoloration have been reported with the use of linezolid. The tooth discoloration was removable with professional dental cleaning (manual descaling) in cases with known outcome.
  • Hypoglycemia, including symptomatic episodes [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)].


7.1 Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

Linezolid is a reversible, nonselective inhibitor of monoamine oxidase. [see Contraindications (4.2) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

7.2 Adrenergic and Serotonergic Agents

Linezolid has the potential for interaction with adrenergic and serotonergic agents. [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3, 5.6) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


8.1 Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects – Pregnancy Category C
Linezolid was not teratogenic in mice, rats, or rabbits at exposure levels 6.5-fold (in mice), equivalent to (in rats), or 0.06-fold (in rabbits) the expected human exposure level, based on AUCs. However, embryo and fetal toxicities were seen (see Non-teratogenic Effects). There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Linezolid should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Non-teratogenic Effects In mice, embryo and fetal toxicities were seen only at doses that caused maternal toxicity (clinical signs and reduced body weight gain). A dose of 450 mg/kg/day (6.5-fold the estimated human exposure level based on AUCs) correlated with increased post-implantational embryo death, including total litter loss, decreased fetal body weights, and an increased incidence of costal cartilage fusion.

In rats, mild fetal toxicity was observed at 15 and 50 mg/kg/day (exposure levels 0.22-fold to approximately equivalent to the estimated human exposure, respectively, based on AUCs). The effects consisted of decreased fetal body weights and reduced ossification of sternebrae, a finding often seen in association with decreased fetal body weights. Slight maternal toxicity, in the form of reduced body weight gain, was seen at 50 mg/kg/day.

In rabbits, reduced fetal body weight occurred only in the presence of maternal toxicity (clinical signs, reduced body weight gain and food consumption) when administered at a dose of 15 mg/kg/day (0.06-fold the estimated human exposure based on AUCs).

When female rats were treated with 50 mg/kg/day (approximately equivalent to the estimated human exposure based on AUCs) of linezolid during pregnancy and lactation, survival of pups was decreased on postnatal days 1 to 4. Male and female pups permitted to mature to reproductive age, when mated, showed an increase in preimplantation loss.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

Linezolid and its metabolites are excreted in the milk of lactating rats. Concentrations in milk were similar to those in maternal plasma. It is not known whether linezolid is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when linezolid is administered to a nursing woman.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of linezolid for the treatment of pediatric patients with the following infections are supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies in adults, pharmacokinetic data in pediatric patients, and additional data from a comparator-controlled study of Gram-positive infections in pediatric patients ranging in age from birth through 11 years [see Indications and Usage (1), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) and Clinical Studies (14)]:

  • nosocomial pneumonia
  • complicated skin and skin structure infections
  • community-acquired pneumonia (also supported by evidence from an uncontrolled study in patients ranging in age from 8 months through 12 years)
  • vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium infections

The safety and effectiveness of linezolid for the treatment of pediatric patients with the following infection have been established in a comparator-controlled study in pediatric patients ranging in age from 5 through 17 years [see Clinical Studies (14)]:

  • uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible strains only) or Streptococcus pyogenes

Pharmacokinetic information generated in pediatric patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunts showed variable cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) linezolid concentrations following single and multiple dosing of linezolid; therapeutic concentrations were not consistently achieved or maintained in the CSF. Therefore, the use of linezolid for the empiric treatment of pediatric patients with central nervous system infections is not recommended.

The pharmacokinetics of linezolid have been evaluated in pediatric patients from birth to 17 years of age. In general, weight-based clearance of linezolid gradually decreases with increasing age of pediatric patients. However, in preterm (gestational age < 34 weeks) neonates < 7 days of age, linezolid clearance is often lower than in full-term neonates < 7 days of age. Consequently, preterm neonates < 7 days of age may need an alternative linezolid dosing regimen of 10 mg/kg every 12 hours [see Dosage and Administration (2.1) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

In limited clinical experience, 5 out of 6 (83%) pediatric patients with infections due to Gram-positive pathogens with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 4 mcg/mL treated with linezolid had clinical cures. However, pediatric patients exhibit wider variability in linezolid clearance and systemic exposure (AUC) compared with adults. In pediatric patients with a sub-optimal clinical response, particularly those with pathogens with MIC of 4 mcg/mL, lower systemic exposure, site and severity of infection, and the underlying medical condition should be considered when assessing clinical response [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) and Dosage and Administration (2)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the 2046 patients treated with linezolid in Phase 3 comparator-controlled clinical trials, 589 (29%) were 65 years or older and 253 (12%) were 75 years or older. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

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