Taking the antibiotic Zyvox (linezolid) with certain psychiatric drugs can lead to serotonin syndrome, a toxic, and potentially fatal, central nervous system reaction that can lead to confusion, memory issues, hyperactivity, excessive sweating, muscle twitching and other symptoms. According to a Drug Safety Communication issued by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2011, a total of 29 psychiatric medications can cause serotonin syndrome when taken with Zyvox, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants Paxil, Luvox, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa and Zoloft.
If you or a loved one suffered serotonin syndrome while taking Zyvox, you may be entitled to compensation. The defective drug lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP are currently offering free lawsuit consultations to Zyvox side effect injury victims. To learn how our Zyvox injury lawyers can help you, we urge you to contact us today for your free, no obligation legal consultation.
Zyvox and Serotonin Syndrome
Zyvox is approved to treat drug-resistant bacteria including methicillin-related Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA), skin infections and nosocomial pneumonia, also known as hospital-acquired pneomonia. Zyvox is part of a class of drugs called reversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). According to the July 2011 FDA Drug Safety Communication, MAOIs like Zyvox can interact with SSRI antidepressants and other serotonergic psychiatric medications to cause serotonin syndrome, a toxic reaction in which excess amounts of the chemical build up in the brain. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include confusion, hyperactivity, memory problems, muscle twitching, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, diarrhea, trouble with coordination, and/or fever. Some deaths among patients who suffered such a reaction were reported to the FDA’s adverse-event database, though the agency did not say how many.
In addition to SSRI inhibitors, Zyvox should not be taken with several other classes of serotonergic drugs, including :
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
- Amitid, Amitril, Elavil, Endep, Etrafon, Limbitrol, Triavil
- Norpramin, Pertofrane
- Tofranil, Tofranil PM, Janimine, Pramine, Presamine
- Pamelor, Aventyl hydrochloride
- Sinequan, Zonalon, Silenor
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Emsam, Eldepryl, Zelapar
Other Psychiatric Medications
- Desyrel, Oleptro, Trialodine
- Wellbutrin, Zyban, Aplenzin
- Remeron, Remeron, Soltab
Although the exact mechanism of this drug interaction is unknown, the FDA pointed out that Zyvox inhibits the action of monoamine oxidase A—an enzyme responsible for breaking down serotonin in the brain. It is believed that when Zyvox is given to patients taking serotonergic medications, high levels of serotonin can build up in the brain, causing toxicity.The FDA acknowledged patients taking the above psychiatric medications may still need to receive Zyvox when they are diagnosed with serious conditions for which the drug is the best treatment. In those cases, physicians should weigh the risks of using other treatments against the danger of serotonin syndrome, the agency advised. In nonemergency situations where use of Zyvox is planned, therapy with the above medications should be stopped at least two weeks in advance. However, in the case of Prozac, therapy should be halted five weeks before using Zyvox because of Prozac’s unusually long half-life, the FDA said. Treatment with serotonergic drugs can resume the day after the last dose of Zyvox.
Zyvox Injury Victims – Legal Help
If you or a loved one suffered serotonin syndrome while taking Zyvox and a psychiatric medication, you may have valuable legal rights. To discuss your case with one of our Zyvox injury lawyers, please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.