What Is Linezolid Used For?
A healthcare provider may prescribe linezolid for a number of different uses, such as the treatment of pneumonia or skin infections. This antibiotic is also prescribed in cases of enterococci infections that are resistant to treatment with vancomycin (another type of antibiotic). The medication is approved for use in adults and children of all ages -- even newborns.
Linezolid (Zyvox®) is an antibiotic licensed to treat a variety of serious infections. This medication comes in tablet, oral liquid suspension, and intravenous (IV) injectable forms. Specifically, linezolid is used to treat the following infections:
- Certain pneumonia infections
- Certain skin and soft tissue infections
- Infections caused by the bacteria Enterococcus faecium when the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin (Vancocin®).
This medication is approved for treating infections only when they are caused by certain types of bacteria -- not all bacteria will respond to linezolid. Linezolid treats infections caused by what are called gram-positive bacteria. It works against gram-positive bacteria that are resistant to several other antibiotics. It does not work for treating viral illnesses, such as the common cold or the flu.
Healthcare providers separate pneumonia into types based on where the infection occurred. These types include community-acquired and hospital-acquired pneumonia (see Types of Pneumonia).
Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type. It occurs outside of hospitals or other healthcare settings. There are more than 100 kinds of germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) known to cause community-acquired pneumonia. Bacteria and viruses are believed to be the most common causes.
(Click Causes of Pneumonia to learn about the specific organisms that can cause pneumonia.)
Just like the name suggests, hospital-acquired pneumonia occurs in the hospital. It is often more serious than community-acquired pneumonia. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria. Sometimes these bacteria can be resistant to several antibiotics.
Linezolid is used for treating both community-acquired and hospital-acquired pneumonia caused by certain bacteria. The bacteria this drug can treat include:
- Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)
- Streptococcus pneumoniae, including multidrug-resistant S. pneumoniae (MDRSP).