5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Myelosuppression (including anemia, leukopenia, pancytopenia, and thrombocytopenia) has been reported in patients receiving linezolid. In cases where the outcome is known, when linezolid was discontinued, the affected hematologic parameters have risen toward pretreatment levels. Complete blood counts should be monitored weekly in patients who receive linezolid, particularly in those who receive linezolid for longer than two weeks, those with pre-existing myelosuppression, those receiving concomitant drugs that produce bone marrow suppression, or those with a chronic infection who have received previous or concomitant antibacterial drug therapy. Discontinuation of therapy with linezolid should be considered in patients who develop or have worsening myelosuppression.
5.2 Peripheral and Optic Neuropathy
Peripheral and optic neuropathies have been reported in patients treated with linezolid, primarily in those patients treated for longer than the maximum recommended duration of 28 days. In cases of optic neuropathy that progressed to loss of vision, patients were treated for extended periods beyond the maximum recommended duration. Visual blurring has been reported in some patients treated with linezolid for less than 28 days. Peripheral and optic neuropathy has also been reported in children.
If patients experience symptoms of visual impairment, such as changes in visual acuity, changes in color vision, blurred vision, or visual field defect, prompt ophthalmic evaluation is recommended. Visual function should be monitored in all patients taking linezolid for extended periods (≥3 months) and in all patients reporting new visual symptoms regardless of length of therapy with linezolid. If peripheral or optic neuropathy occurs, the continued use of linezolid in these patients should be weighed against the potential risks.
5.3 Serotonin Syndrome
Spontaneous reports of serotonin syndrome including fatal cases associated with the co-administration of linezolid and serotonergic agents, including antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been reported.
In some cases, a patient already receiving a serotonergic antidepressant or buspirone may require urgent treatment with linezolid. If alternatives to linezolid are not available and the potential benefits of linezolid outweigh the risks of serotonin syndrome or NMS-like reactions, the serotonergic antidepressant should be stopped promptly and linezolid administered. The patient should be monitored for two weeks (five weeks if fluoxetine was taken) or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid, whichever comes first. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome or NMS-like reactions include hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus, autonomic instability, and mental status changes that include extreme agitation progressing to delirium and coma. The patient should also be monitored for discontinuation symptoms of the antidepressant (see package insert of the specified agent(s) for a description of the associated discontinuation symptoms).
5.4 Mortality Imbalance in an Investigational Study in Patients with Catheter-Related Bloodstream Infections, Including Those with Catheter-Site Infections
An imbalance in mortality was seen in patients treated with linezolid relative to vancomycin/dicloxacillin/oxacillin in an open-label study in seriously ill patients with intravascular catheter-related infections [78/363 (21.5%) vs. 58/363 (16.0%); odds ratio 1.426, 95% CI 0.970, 2.098]. While causality has not been established, this observed imbalance occurred primarily in linezolid-treated patients in whom either Gram-negative pathogens, mixed Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens, or no pathogen were identified at baseline, but was not seen in patients with Gram-positive infections only.
Linezolid is not approved and should not be used for the treatment of patients with catheter-related bloodstream infections or catheter-site infections.
Linezolid has no clinical activity against Gram-negative pathogens and is not indicated for the treatment of Gram-negative infections. It is critical that specific Gram-negative therapy be initiated immediately if a concomitant Gram-negative pathogen is documented or suspected [see Indications and Usage (1)].
5.5 Clostridioides difficile-Associated Diarrhea
Clostridioides difficile-Associated Diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including linezolid, and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.
C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibacterial drug use.
Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.
If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibacterial drug use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibacterial drug treatment of C. difficile, and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
5.6 Potential Interactions Producing Elevation of Blood Pressure
Unless patients are monitored for potential increases in blood pressure, linezolid should not be administered to patients with uncontrolled hypertension, pheochromocytoma, thyrotoxicosis and/or patients taking any of the following types of medications: directly and indirectly acting sympathomimetic agents (e.g., pseudoephedrine), vasopressive agents (e.g., epinephrine, norepinephrine), dopaminergic agents (e.g., dopamine, dobutamine) [see Drug Interactions (7) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
5.7 Lactic Acidosis
Lactic acidosis has been reported with the use of linezolid. In reported cases, patients experienced repeated episodes of nausea and vomiting. Patients who develop recurrent nausea or vomiting, unexplained acidosis, or a low bicarbonate level while receiving linezolid should receive immediate medical evaluation.
Convulsions have been reported in patients when treated with linezolid. In some of these cases, a history of seizures or risk factors for seizures was reported.
Postmarketing cases of symptomatic hypoglycemia have been reported in patients with diabetes mellitus receiving insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents when treated with linezolid, a reversible, nonselective MAO inhibitor. Some MAO inhibitors have been associated with hypoglycemic episodes in diabetic patients receiving insulin or hypoglycemic agents. While a causal relationship between linezolid and hypoglycemia has not been established, diabetic patients should be cautioned of potential hypoglycemic reactions when treated with linezolid.
If hypoglycemia occurs, a decrease in the dose of insulin or oral hypoglycemic agent, or discontinuation of oral hypoglycemic agent, insulin, or linezolid may be required.