Safety of long-term use of linezolid: Results of an open-label study

Jose A. Vazquez, Anthony C. Arnold, Robert N. Swanson, Pinaki Biswas, Matteo Bassetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the long-term safety of linezolid in patients with chronic infections requiring treatment for ≥6 weeks. Enhanced monitoring for optic neuropathy was included to characterize the early development of this side effect and to identify ophthalmologic tests that might be valuable in early detection of this event. Methods: This was a multicenter, open-label, pilot study of patients aged ≥18 years on long-term linezolid therapy. Matched control patients were included for baseline assessment comparison. Patients were assessed at study entry, monthly while on treatment, at the end of treatment, and 30 days following the last dose. Aggregate ocular safety data were reviewed. Response to treatment was reported. Results: The study was terminated owing to slow enrollment. Twenty-four patients received linezolid; nine patients were included as matched controls. Linezolid was prescribed for a median of 80.5 days (range, 50-254 days). In patients with a reported clinical outcome, the majority were considered improved or cured. Common treatment-related adverse events (AEs) included anemia, peripheral neuropathy, polyneuropathy, vomiting, and asthenia, and were consistent with the known safety profile. Most AEs resolved or stabilized with discontinuation of treatment. Results of ophthalmologic tests in the one case adjudicated as probable linezolid-associated optic neuropathy revealed abnormal color vision, characteristic changes in the optic disk, and central scotomas in each eye. Conclusion: In our small population, linezolid was generally well tolerated and AEs were consistent with the known safety profile. Extensive ophthalmologic testing of all 24 linezolid-treated patients identified one case adjudicated as probable, linezolid-associated optic neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1347-1354
Number of pages8
JournalTherapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Linezolid
  • Optic nerve diseases
  • Oxazolidinones
  • Peripheral nervous system diseases
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Chemical Health and Safety


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