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OBJECTIVES: Linezolid, the only commercially available oxazolidinone, is indicated for the treatment of Gram-positive infections, although little has been published specifically on its use in the critically ill. A randomized, prospective study was therefore performed to compare linezolid with the glycopeptide antibiotic, teicoplanin, for the treatment of suspected or proven Gram-positive infections in an intensive care population. METHODS: Using a double-blind, double-dummy, prospective design, patients were randomized to (i) intravenous linezolid (600 mg/12 h) plus teicoplanin dummy [one dose/12 h for three doses then every 24 h intravenously (iv)] or (ii) teicoplanin (400 mg/12 h for three doses then 400 mg/24 h iv) plus linezolid dummy (one dose/12 h iv). Other antibiotics were used in combination with the trial agents in empirical treatment. Clinical and microbiological assessments were made daily in the first week, and at 8 and 21 days after treatment. RESULTS: One hundred patients received linezolid plus placebo-teicoplanin, whereas 102 received teicoplanin plus placebo-linezolid. Population baseline characteristics were similar in both groups. At end of treatment, clinical success [71 (78.9%) linezolid versus 67 (72.8%) teicoplanin] and microbiological success [49 (70.0%) versus 45 (66.2%)] rates were similar, as were adverse effects, intensive care unit mortality, and success rates at short- and long-term follow-up. Linezolid was superior at initial clearance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization (end of treatment, 51.1% versus 18.6%, P = 0.002). Two MRSA isolates showed reduced susceptibility to teicoplanin. CONCLUSIONS: Linezolid has similar safety and efficacy to teicoplanin in treating Gram-positive infections in the critically ill. Short-term MRSA clearance achieved with linezolid suggests better skin and mucosal penetration.

Original publication




Journal article


J Antimicrob Chemother

Publication Date





345 - 355


Acetamides, Aged, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Arthritis, Infectious, Critical Care, Critical Illness, Cross Infection, Double-Blind Method, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Female, Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections, Humans, Injections, Intravenous, Linezolid, Male, Middle Aged, Osteomyelitis, Oxazolidinones, Pneumonia, Bacterial, Respiratory Tract Infections, Sepsis, Soft Tissue Infections, Teicoplanin, Treatment Outcome