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Effect of Vitamin C, Thiamine, and Hydrocortisone on Ventilator- and Vasopressor-Free Days in Patients With Sepsis: The VICTAS Randomized Clinical Trial

By AGE2B team
April 5, 2022

Main idea: Among critically ill patients with sepsis, treatment with vitamin C, thiamine, and hydrocortisone, compared with placebo, did not significantly increase ventilator- and vasopressor-free days within 30 days. However, the trial was terminated early for administrative reasons and may have been underpowered to detect a clinically important difference.


Sepsis is a common syndrome with substantial morbidity and mortality. A combination of vitamin C, thiamine, and corticosteroids has been proposed as a potential treatment for patients with sepsis.

Objective: To determine whether a combination of vitamin C, thiamine, and hydrocortisone taken every 6 hours increases ventilator- and vasopressor-free days compared with placebo in patients with sepsis.

Multi center randomized double-blind adaptive-sample-size placebo-controlled trial conducted in adult patients with sepsis induced respiratory and/or cardiovascular dysfunction.

Participants were randomized to receive intravenous vitamin C (1.5 g), thiamine (100 mg), and hydrocortisone (50 mg) every 6 hours (n = 252) or matching placebo (n = 249) for 96 hours or until discharged from the intensive care unit or death. Participants could be treated with open-label corticosteroids by the clinical team with study hydrocortisone or matching placebo withheld if the total daily dose was greater or equal to the equivalent of 200 mg of hydrocortisone.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was the number of consecutive ventilator- and vasopressor-free days in the first 30 days following the day of randomization. The key secondary outcome was 30-day mortality.

Results: Among 501 participants randomized (median age, 62 [interquartile range {IQR}, 50-70] years; 46% female; 30% Black; median Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, 27 [IQR, 20.8-33.0]; median Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, 9 [IQR, 7-12]), all completed the trial. Open-label corticosteroids were prescribed to 33% and 32% of the intervention and control groups, respectively. Ventilator- and vasopressor-free days were a median of 25 days (IQR, 0-29 days) in the intervention group and 26 days (IQR, 0-28 days) in the placebo group, with a median difference of -1 day. 30-day mortality was 22% in the intervention group and 24% in the placebo group.

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