A new study finds that linezolid, one of the most popular antibiotics used to treat hospital-acquired (nosocomial) pneumonia, may not be the best treatment. The findings, published in Critical Care Medicine Journal, found that linezolid caused a significant increase in side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and also led to significantly more thrombocytopenia, a condition in which platelets are too low.

The study looked at nine randomized trials on 2,329 patients with nosocomial pneumonia to test linezolid’s effectiveness against vancomycin or teicoplanin. The researchers found that in addition to being associated with a significant increase in side effects, linezolid was not superior in terms of curing nosocomial pneumonia. According to the researchers, vancomycin or teicoplanin are still very effective in treating nosocomial pneumonia while causing less side effects.

The researchers also warn that overuse of linezolid can create linezolid-resistant nosocomial pneumonia, an already growing problem in many medical facilities. The mortality rate of linezolid-resistant infections is 25-50%, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: University of Nebraska Medical Center