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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serotonin toxicity associated with concomitant use of linezolid.

OBJECTIVE: To report 2 cases of serotonin toxicity (ST) associated with concomitant use of linezolid and serotonergic drugs and review previously published case reports. CASE SUMMARIES: Case 1. A 38-year-old white female with cystic fibrosis treated with venlafaxine 300 mg/day for one year was prescribed linezolid 600 mg intravenously every 12 hours for treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pulmonary infection. She displayed symptoms of ST 8 days after the introduction of linezolid. The venlafaxine dosage was decreased to 150 mg/day, and symptoms gradually abated over 36 hours. Case 2. A 37-year-old male with multiple myeloma received citalopram 40 mg/day and trazodone 150 mg/day for anxiety-related disorders. Linezolid treatment with 600 mg orally twice daily was instituted for MRSA cellulitis. The following day, the patient developed anxiety, panic attacks, tremors, tachycardia, and hypertension that persisted throughout linezolid treatment. Symptoms finally waned 5 days after linezolid treatment was stopped. DISCUSSION: The symptoms observed in our patients were consistent with Sternbach's criteria for ST. A review of published case reports showed a short time to onset of symptoms following the introduction of linezolid, generally within 1-3 days. Also of note is the use of relatively high dosages of serotonergic drugs. Use of the Naranjo probability scale indicated a possible relationship between the use of linezolid and the occurrence of ST in both cases. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should pay special attention to patients treated with serotonergic drugs, especially those receiving dosages in the higher end of the normal range who are prescribed linezolid, and consider tapering or reducing the dosage of serotonergic drugs for the duration of antibiotic therapy.[1]


  1. Serotonin toxicity associated with concomitant use of linezolid. Bergeron, L., Boulé, M., Perreault, S. The Annals of pharmacotherapy. (2005) [Pubmed]
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