Linezolid - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Linezolid: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is linezolid?

Linezolid is a synthetic antibiotic that is used against bacterial infections resistant to other antibiotics. Linezolid is majorly effective against pneumonia, skin infections, streptococcal infections, etc. It renders its effectiveness by blocking the synthesis of bacterial protein in the human body. You can take it either intravenously or orally. This drug is also a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and can interfere with other medications you might be taking for thyroid issues, renal issues, and psychiatric symptoms.

What are the uses of linezolid?

Linezolid is used to fight bacterial infections that other antibiotics have failed to treat. Doctors prescribe it only as a last resort against drug-resistant infections so that its effect is magnified. It can effectively treat pneumonia, skin infections caused by gram-positive bacteria like streptococci, stomach infections caused by enterococci, and even tuberculosis. The bioavailability of the drug is so good that once stable, oral administration can offer effective treatment.

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What are the side effects of linezolid?

If one uses linezolid for the prescribed amount of time and dosage, it is considered relatively safe. However, some rare side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood sugar

When used for more than two weeks, consuming linezolid may result in serious conditions like:

  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of sight

It may also adversely interact with antidepressants. It can worsen thyroid issues and Parkinson’s disease. So, consult a medical practitioner familiar with your medical history before taking linezolid.

For any queries regarding the safety and precautions before taking linezolid, contact Yashoda Hospitals. We have a dedicated team of doctors and specialists to clear all your doubts on related drugs and their safety.


Frequently Asked Questions about Linezolid

1. How does linezolid cause serotonin syndrome?

Linezolid, apart from being an antibiotic, is also a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). It increases the levels of biochemicals like serotonin, dopamine, etc. When someone who is already on antidepressants or other psychiatric medication takes MAOIs, the serotonin in their body increases to toxic levels. Discuss the medication you are already taking with your doctor before taking linezolid.

2. How long does linezolid take to work?

Linezolid takes approximately 2–3 hours to work. For adults, the drug is prescribed every 12 hours for 10 to 14 days. For children, it is administered every 8 hours for 14 to 28 days. However, the dosage and the duration will differ depending on your age, medical history, and the severity of the infection.

3. Can linezolid be crushed?

Yes. Usually, the benefit of crushing a tablet is better bioavailability. When the patient is unconscious or unable to swallow, linezolid is crushed and administered as a powder or mixed with water to form a suspension. Linezolid's bioavailability increases and the time it takes to swing into action reduces.

4. Does linezolid cover MRSA?

Yes. Linezolid is very effective against MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Followed by Vancomycin, Linezolid is the drug of choice for MRSA. Staphylococcus aureus belongs to a group of gram-positive bacteria that is resistant to most other antibiotics. This infection occurs due to exposure to hospital environments and equipment.

5. What foods should be avoided while taking linezolid?

Certain food items may aggravate side effects of linezolid like high blood pressure; dizziness; confusion; diarrhea; severe stomach pain; reduction in white blood cells; anemia; neuropsychiatric symptoms like indecisiveness, depression, etc. While on linezolid, avoid these foods:

  • Pickles
  • Fermented food items
  • Raw meat
  • Aged meat
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

6. Is linezolid a strong antibiotic?

Linezolid is a 'reserve antibiotic' prescribed as a last resort to fight bacterial infections that have been resistant to other antibiotics. The fact that it can fight such antibiotic-resistant bacteria means linezolid is supremely effective against infections. It is usually administered every 8 to 12 hours for 14 to 28 days depending on the patient’s age and severity of infection.

7. Can linezolid cause hair loss?

Very rarely does linezolid cause hair loss. The common side effects of taking excess linezolid are:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Candidiasis
  • Reduction in white blood cells
No studies have linked consuming linezolid with hair loss yet. If you experience hair loss after taking the drug, consult a doctor to find the exact cause.

8. Is linezolid nephrotoxic?

Linezolid, when taken beyond the prescribed time and dosage, can be nephrotoxic. This means it can interfere with the normal filtering function of the kidneys. Especially if you have existing renal problems, linezolid can aggravate your condition and cause irreversible damage. Discuss with your medical practitioner regarding drug safety and possible alternatives.

9. Does linezolid raise blood pressure?

Yes. Linezolid is known to raise blood pressure levels if you exceed the prescribed duration and the dosage. This happens because linezolid interferes with the sodium output of the kidneys or the enzymes that raise the sodium levels in the blood. It may take at least 5–7 hours to go back to normal levels.

10. Is linezolid used for throat infection?

No. Linezolid is not effective against any kind of throat infection. It cannot be used against any symptoms of fever either, like sore throat, cough, cold, etc. It is an antibiotic that can still be used against very serious bacterial infections like pneumonia, skin infections, and various drug-resistant infections.

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  1. University of Michigan Health: Linezolid (oral/injection)
  2. Pubmed: Linezolid

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.


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