Combined Treatment With Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, and Thiamine for Sepsis and Septic Shock: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ping Chang, Yuping Liao, Jianbin Guan, Yuexun Guo, Ming Zhao, Jianmin Hu, Jian Zhou, Hua Wang, Zhongran Cen, Ying Tang, Zhanguo Liu
Chest 2020, 158 (1): 174-182

BACKGROUND: Whether hydrocortisone, vitamin C, and thiamine treatment can reduce the mortality of patients with sepsis is controversial.

RESEARCH QUESTION: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of hydrocortisone, vitamin C, and thiamine combination treatment for patients with sepsis or septic shock (HYVCTTSSS).

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: This single-blind, randomized controlled trial evaluated treatment with hydrocortisone (50 mg every 6 h for 7 days), vitamin C (1.5 g every 6 h for 4 days), and thiamine (200 mg every 12 h for 4 days) vs placebo (normal saline) in patients with sepsis. The intention-to-treat analysis was used. Primary outcome was 28-day all-cause mortality, and secondary outcomes were organ protection, procalcitonin reduction, and adverse events related to hydrocortisone, vitamin C, and thiamine.

RESULTS: Eighty patients were randomized to receive combination treatment (n = 40) or normal saline (n = 40). No difference in 28-day all-cause mortality was observed (27.5% vs 35%, respectively; P = .47); however, treatment was associated with a significant improvement of 72-h change in Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (P = .02). In adverse events analysis, the treatment group exhibited more incidents of hypernatremia (P = .005). In prespecified subgroup analysis, patients of the treatment subgroup diagnosed with sepsis within 48 h showed lower mortality than those in the control subgroup (P = .02). The study was terminated after the midterm analysis.

INTERPRETATION: Among patients with sepsis or septic shock, the combination of hydrocortisone, vitamin C, and thiamine did not reduce mortality compared with placebo.


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