Drug cocktail of vitamin B, C & corticosteroids could lower rates of sepsis shock, death

A drug cocktail, comprised of commonly available drugs, may be effective in mitigating progressive organ dysfunction and lowering the mortality rate of severe sepsis and septic shock, according to a study published in CHEST.

Researchers examined patients treated with a cocktail of vitamin C, corticosteroids and thiamine (vitamin B). They treated sepsis patients in the intensive care unit with the drug cocktail, called the metabolic resuscitation protocol. They also established a control group by identifying medical records of ICU sepsis patients who were treated before the protocol was put into place.

The study showed 40 percent of patients in the control group died as compared to 9 percent in the drug cocktail treatment group. Additionally, the cocktail reduced the mean duration of vasopressor use by nearly half.

In the treatment group, no patient developed progressive organ failure. The deaths in the group were due to underlying medical conditions and not sepsis.

"Due to the inherent safety of the combination of hydrocortisone, vitamin C, and thiamine, we believe that this treatment strategy can be adopted pending the results of further clinical trials. This inexpensive intervention has the potential to reduce the global mortality for sepsis," said lead investigator Paul E. Marik, MD, chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Norfolk-based Eastern Virginia Medical School.

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