Journal Article

Linezolid in the Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis

G.F. Schecter, C. Scott, L. True, A. Raftery, J. Flood and S. Mase

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 50, issue 1, pages 49-55
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Linezolid in the Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis

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Linezolid is a new antibiotic with activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro and in animal studies. Several small case series suggest that linezolid is poorly tolerated because of the side effects of anemia/thrombocytopenia and peripheral neuropathy. To characterize our clinical experience with linezolid, the California Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Control Branch's Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDRTB) Service reviewed cases in which the MDR-TB treatment regimens included linezolid therapy.


Record review was performed for 30 patients treated with linezolid as part of an MDR-TB regimen. Data were collected on clinical and microbiological characteristics, linezolid tolerability, and treatment outcomes. The dosage of linezolid was 600 mg daily. Vitamin B6 at a dosage of 50–100 mg daily was used to mitigate hematologic toxicity.


During 2003–2007, 30 patients received linezolid for the treatment of MDR-TB. Patients had isolates resistant to a median of 5 drugs (range, 2–13 drugs). Of the 30 cases, 29 (97%) were pulmonary; of these 29, 21 (72%) had positive results of acid-fast bacilli smear, and 16 (55%) were cavitary. Culture conversion occurred in all pulmonary cases at a median of 7 weeks. At data censure (31 December 2008), 22 (73%) of 30 patients had successfully completed treatment. Five continued to receive treatment. There were no deaths. Three patients had a poor outcome, including 2 defaults and 1 treatment failure. Side effects occurred in 9 patients, including peripheral and optic neuropathy, anemia/thrombocytopenia, rash, and diarrhea. However, only 3 patients stopped linezolid treatment because of side effects.


Linezolid was well tolerated, had low rates of discontinuation, and may have efficacy in the treatment of MDR-TB.

Journal Article.  4606 words. 

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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