Supra-therapeutic Linezolid Trough Concentrations in Elderly Patients: A Call for Action?

Dario Cattaneo, Marta Fusi, Valeria Cozzi, Sara Baldelli, Igor Bonini, Cristina Gervasoni, Emilio Clementi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective: According to the drug label, linezolid dosage adjustments are not needed in geriatric patients. Nevertheless, clinical evidence suggests that elderly patients may benefit from the use of reduced linezolid doses to limit drug overexposure. Here, we aimed to describe the results of the last 5 years of therapeutic drug monitoring of linezolid in our institution with a special focus on elderly patients. Methods: Linezolid therapeutic drug monitoring requests collected between January 2016 and June 2020 were considered. Linezolid trough concentrations were considered both as a continuous variable and as a categorical variable, clustering data according to the therapeutic range proposed by available literature (< 2, 2–8, and > 8 mg/L, respectively). Patients’ age and sex were considered as categorical variables. Comparisons of linezolid trough concentrations between groups of patients stratified according to age were performed using an analysis of variance; comparisons in the frequency distributions were performed using the chi-squared test. Results: From 2016 to 2020, we collected 3250 linezolid TDM requests. A highly significant, progressive increment in the linezolid trough concentrations was observed moving from patients aged < 50 years (5.8 ± 5.6 mg/L) to those aged > 90 years (16.6 ± 10.0 mg/L), with an overall increment of 30% per decade of age. Nearly 30%, 50%, and 65% of patients aged < 65 years, 65–80 years, and > 80 years, respectively, had supra-therapeutic linezolid trough concentrations at the first therapeutic drug monitoring assessment. This trend did not change significantly moving from 2016 to 2020. Conclusions: Elderly patients given linezolid at the conventional 600-mg twice-daily dose might be at a high risk of being overexposed to treatment, eventually increasing their risk to experience drug-related hematological toxicity. Reduced linezolid dosing schemes should be potentially considered in elderly patients at a low risk of treatment failure, ideally guided by therapeutic drug monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-609
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number5
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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