Tooth discoloration after treatment with linezolid

Kelly L. Matson, University of Rhode Island
Susan E. Miller, Children's Hospital Denver


With the increasing frequency of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in immunocompromised hosts, clinicians are increasingly prescribing the oral treatment option of linezolid. Linezolid is the first of a new class of antibiotics, the oxazolidinones. The drug is generally well tolerated. However, mild-to-moderate adverse effects have been reported, such as gastrointestinal effects (most frequent), myelosuppression, skin eruptions, elevated liver enzymes, and tongue discoloration. As with any new drug on the commercial market, not all adverse effects are elucidated during preclinical trials. An immunocompromised 11-year-old girl with cellulitis of the toe experienced tooth discoloration after receiving a 28-day course of linezolid. The discoloration was present on the enamel of her lower anterior teeth and was superficial and reversible with dental cleaning.