Objective: To determine whether linezolid is safe and well tolerated in the treatment of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).
Materials and methods: The was conducted in a specialized tuberculosis ward for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) on the Chest Service of Bellevue Hospital Center, which is a 768-bed public hospital in New York City. Seven patients with confirmed MDR-TB or XDR-TB who were still culture positive despite appropriate directly observed therapy were treated with a regimen containing linezolid and at least one other active agent.
Results: The linezolid-containing regimen led to sustained negative conversion of sputum cultures and radiographic improvement in all patients. Long-term therapy (longest duration of therapy, 28 months) was well tolerated in most patients. Neutropenia developed in three patients, but was reversible, and peripheral neuropathy developed in two patients.
Conclusions: Linezolid remains a promising possible addition to our therapeutic armamentarium against XDR-TB. Linezolid is associated with side effects that can be adequately managed. Further studies to define the mechanism of action and optimum dose should be performed.