Background: Gram-positive infections caused by susceptible and resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci and enterococci are increasing problems in neonates. Linezolid, a new oxazolidinone, is active against these pathogens and has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating Gram-positive infections in pediatric patients.
Objective: To compare the clinical efficacy and safety of intravenous and oral linezolid with vancomycin (10 to 15 mg/kg every 6 to 24 h) in neonates (age 0 to 90 days).
Methods: Hospitalized infants with known or suspected hospital-acquired pneumonia, complicated skin or skin structure infections, bacteremia or other infections (e.g. pyelonephritis, abdominal abscess) were eligible. Test-of-cure clinical response was evaluated at follow-up.
Results: Sixty-three neonates, randomized 2:1 to linezolid (n = 43) or vancomycin (n = 20) were included in the intent-to-treat group. Clinical cure rates at follow-up in the intent-to-treat group were higher, but not significantly different, for linezolid vs. vancomycin (78% vs. 61%; P = 0.196). Corresponding cure rates in clinically evaluable patients were 84% vs. 77% (P = 0.553) for linezolid and vancomycin, respectively. Pathogen eradication rates were as follows in the linezolid and vancomycin groups, respectively: S. aureus (67% vs. 60%; P = 0.850); coagulase-negative staphylococci (88% vs. 100%; P = 0.379); and enterococci (71% vs. 0%; P = 0.168). Results for hematology and chemistry assays were similar between treatment groups. Fewer linezolid-treated neonates had drug-related adverse events than vancomycin-treated neonates (12% vs. 32%; P = 0.058).
Conclusions: Linezolid is well-tolerated and as effective as vancomycin in the treatment of resistant Gram-positive infections in neonates.