Public Release:  New type of antiobiotic tackles hard-to-treat pediatric infections

Baylor College of Medicine

Oct. 26, 2002--Pediatricians have another weapon in their arsenal to fight infections that have shown resistance to common antibiotics, according to data presented today by a team of investigators led by Baylor College of Medicine.

Study results showed that linezolid, a new type of antibiotic, is well-tolerated and as effective as the most common antibiotic, vancomycin, in treating infants and children with known or suspected gram-positive infections, reported Dr. Sheldon Kaplan, Baylor professor of pediatrics, to the Infectious Diseases Society of America meeting in Chicago. The results were presented in four posters.

"Incidence of these infections is increasing at an alarming rate in children in the community without typical risk factors, such as recent hospitalization," said Kaplan, also chief of the infectious disease service at Texas Children's Hospital. "This underscores the need for new treatments for children with hard-to-treat resistant gram-positive infections, because there are limited options available for this age group."

The study included children with complicated skin and soft tissue infections, nosocomial pneumonia and bacteremia caused by resistant gram- positive bacteria including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus epidermidis. The multi-center study involved 52 sites nationwide, including Baylor/Texas Children's. It enrolled 316 children from birth to age 11, including 63 neonates. The study was an open-label, randomized comparator-controlled trial comparing linezolid to vancomycin.

According to Kaplan, antibiotic-resistant infections are now more common in the general population.

"Most of the MRSA infections we see in children now come from the community, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage," he said. "Oral linezolid may become one of the most important options for treating community-acquired MRSA in the future." Linezolid is marketed as ZYVOX by Pharmacia Corporation.

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