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Pharmacy Practice


While newer antibiotics play a key role in treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, knowledge of their real-world clinical impact is limited. We sought to quantify the effectiveness of linezolid compared to that of vancomycin among MRSA-infected patients. This national retrospective cohort study included adult patients admitted to all Veterans Affairs hospitals between January 2002 and June 2008, infected with MRSA, and treated with either linezolid (oral or intravenous [i.v.]) or vancomycin (i.v.). Patients were followed from their treatment initiation date until the event of interest, discharge, death, or December 2008. Utilizing propensity score methods, we estimated the treatment effects of linezolid primarily on time to discharge and secondarily on time to all-cause in-hospital mortality, therapy discontinuation, and all-cause 90-day readmission with Cox proportional-hazard models. We identified 20,107 patients treated with linezolid (3.2%) or vancomycin (96.8%). Baseline covariates were well balanced by treatment group within propensity score quintiles and between propensity score matched patients (626 pairs). The discharge rate was significantly higher among patients treated with linezolid, representing a decreased length of stay, in both the propensity score adjusted (hazard ratio [HR], 1.38; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.27 to 1.50) and matched (HR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.44 to 2.00) analyses. A significantly decreased rate of therapy discontinuation, indicating longer therapy duration, was observed in the linezolid group (adjusted HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.75; matched HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.65). In this clinical population of MRSA-infected patients, linezolid therapy was as effective as vancomycin therapy with respect to in-hospital survival and readmission.