Can vitamin-steroid cocktail cure sepsis? Trial aims to find out

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

After a physician reported a mix of vitamin C, thiamine and steroids could treat sepsis, a clinical trial is underway to see if it can cure the potentially life-threatening condition, according to NPR.

The Marcus Foundation, which supports human services, approached critical care physicians at Emory University after hearing about the potentially lifesaving treatment and offered to fund a study to test it.

"One of the things they were very interested in doing was getting an answer quickly," said Jonathan Sevransky, MD, a critical care physician at the Atlanta-based university. Emory physicians partnered with researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., to launch a study at about 40 hospitals simultaneously.

Dorian Pelfrey, a 44-year-old man who developed sepsis at Emory, was one of the first patients to enroll in the study. He would have a 50-50 chance of getting the vitamin mixture or standard fluids for hydration through an IV. Doses of corticosteroids are also included in the experiment.

Mr. Pelfrey doesn't know whether got the experimental treatment or the placebo, but his health has slowly been improving since having sepsis and his liver transplant.

The trial, called Vitamin C, Thiamine And Steroids in Sepsis, has enrolled over 70 patients to date.

Once 200 patients are enrolled, an independent group of researchers will examine the data to see whether there's a significant difference between the outcomes of patients who had the vitamins and those who had the placebo.

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