Metabolic support in sepsis: corticosteroids and vitamins: the why, the when, the how

Tomoko Fujii, Adam M. Deane, Priya Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Sepsis is a global health issue, and there is a need for effective, low-cost adjunct metabolic treatments. Corticosteroids have been investigated in many trials for decades, and recently the administration of vitamin C, thiamine (vitamin B1), and vitamin D have been proposed as novel therapies in patients with sepsis. RECENT FINDINGS: APROCCHSS (N = 1241) and ADRENAL (N = 3800) trial reported inconsistent results in mortality outcome; however, both demonstrated a decreased duration of shock with low-dose corticosteroids. The CITRIS-ALI trial (N = 170) examined the effects of intravenous vitamin C 200 mg/kg/day and reported no effect on organ dysfunction or biomarkers. The VITAMINS trial (N = 216) compared combination therapy of vitamin C 6 g/day, thiamine 200 mg/day, and hydrocortisone 200 mg/day with hydrocortisone alone to find that the combination did not increase vasopressor free time. A single trial (N = 88) evaluating the effect of thiamine in patients with sepsis reported a neutral result. Two randomized trials (N = 475 and N = 1360) on the supplementation of vitamin D in the critically ill patients did not identify statistically significant reduction in mortality. SUMMARY: Evidence from high-quality research is still insufficient to support the use of vitamin C, thiamine, and vitamin D as metabolic support in sepsis treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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