By Eliot Parascandolo
Researchers from Austin Hospital in Australia sought to determine if adding Vitamin C and Thiamine to standard hydrocortisone therapy affected time alive and free of vasopressor support among patients with septic shock. In this randomized trial consisting of 211 consenting patients, 109 were randomized into the intervention group. This is the group that received Vitamin C (1.5 g every 6 hours), hydrocortisone (50 mg every 6 hours) and thiamine (200 mg every 12 hours). The control group which consisted of 107 participants was treated with hydrocortisone (50 mg every six hours). Both groups were treated until shock resolution or up to 10 days since beginning of treatment. The study measured two outcomes, the primary outcome was duration of time alive and free of vasopressor administration up to day 7, 10 secondary outcomes were described, including 90 day mortality. Among the 211 patients the average age was 61.7 and 63 percent men. The average time alive and vasopressor free up until day 7 was 122.1 hours in the intervention group, and 124.6 hours in the control group. Of the 10 secondary outcomes 9 showed no statistical differences. However, 90 day mortality was 28.6 in the intervention group and 24.5 in the control group. Thus the study found that the addition of Vitamin C and Thiamine did not improve outcomes or resolutions in patients with septic shock.
Research like this is of particular important in modern day medicine. As medical students we often hear and read of, “essential oils” and high dose vitamin regimens touting to cure various diseases, even some with specifically no known “cure” such as herpes. You can’t even scroll through Instagram without coming across someone who makes the bold claim that they cured terrible illnesses with a couple of roots, normally in relation to “Dr.” Sebi. While it is true that maintaining proper nutrition is of upmost importance one must be weary of any fly-by-night salesmen touting cures to chronic illnesses with household herbs. Research like this shows that just adding vitamin c, a very common suggestion among these people, does not actually help outcomes in septic shock patients.