Vitamin C, Thiamine, and Steroids in Sepsis (VICTAS)

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Emory University

Status and phase

Phase 3




Drug: Thiamine Placebo
Drug: Thiamine
Drug: Vitamin C
Drug: Vitamin C Placebo
Drug: Hydrocortisone
Drug: Hydrocortisone Placebo

Study type


Funder types



IRB00164053 (Other Identifier)

Details and patient eligibility


The VItamin C, Thiamine And Steroids in Sepsis (VICTAS) Study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, adaptive randomized clinical trial designed to investigate the efficacy of the combined use of vitamin C, thiamine and corticosteroids versus indistinguishable placebos for patients with sepsis. The objective of this study is to demonstrate the efficacy of combination therapy using vitamin C, thiamine and corticosteroids in reducing mortality and improving organ function in critically ill patients with sepsis.

Full description

Sepsis is an inflammatory syndrome with life threatening organ dysfunction resulting from a dysregulated host response to infection. The global burden is estimated to exceed 15 million cases annually. In the United States, the incidence is increasing and currently there are more 1,750,000 cases each year, with more than half requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Further, sepsis cases account for 30%- 50% of all hospital deaths, making it the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States, and is the most expensive reason for hospitalization with annual expenditures exceeding $20 billion. Notably, even among those that do survive, many endure significant reductions in physical, emotional and cognitive quality of life. New therapeutic approaches to reduce the high morbidity and mortality of sepsis are needed. Current management strategies focus on early aggressive fluid resuscitation, blood pressure support with vasopressors, early appropriate antibiotics, and the identification and control of infected sites. Though outcomes have improved with the bundled deployment of these strategies, mortality remains high at 20 - 30%. Despite over a hundred phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials of pharmacological agents with the potential to improve sepsis outcomes, only antibiotics have demonstrated reproducible benefits. The purpose of the current study is therefore to determine (or confirm) the efficacy of the combination therapy consisting of vitamin C, thiamine, and corticosteroids in the management of patients with circulatory and/or respiratory dysfunction resulting from sepsis. This subset of sepsis patients has been chosen because they are easily identified, have a high mortality, and consume significant critical care resources. As such, any improvements in outcomes attributed to effective therapies would be of great value to patients, as well as their care providers and healthcare systems. Further, because the promulgated therapies are composed of three inexpensive and readily available drugs, its efficacy would have important implications the management of sepsis in both well and poorly resourced settings worldwide. The VItamin C, Thiamine And Steroids in Sepsis (VICTAS) Study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, adaptive randomized clinical trial designed to investigate the efficacy of the combined use of vitamin C, thiamine and corticosteroids (the Treatment Protocol) versus indistinguishable placebos (the Control Protocol) for patients with sepsis. The trial will enroll up to 2000 participant and employs a novel endpoint that approximates a patient's risk of death based on the time spent on vasopressors or receiving respiratory support. Time spent on vasopressors or receiving respiratory support captures a patient's speed of recovery. Mortality rate is a key secondary endpoint for the trial. Specific Aims To demonstrate the efficacy of combination therapy using vitamin C, thiamine and corticosteroids to reduce the duration of cardiovascular and respiratory organ dysfunction in critically ill patients with sepsis. To demonstrate the efficacy of combination therapy using vitamin C, thiamine and corticosteroids to reduce 30-day mortality in critically ill patients with sepsis. Explicit subject consent for participation in long term telephone follow-up will be sought for all patients at all sites. Participation in long term outcome assessments is not required for participation in other aspects of the VICTAS study, i.e., patients may individually opt out of this portion of the study. In these participants a diverse array of neurocognitive outcomes will be assessed approximately 6 months after patient discharge. Evaluations will be done using a specially-designed battery of tests that evaluates key aspects of functioning and behavior and will be administered via phone by the Vanderbilt Long-Term Outcomes team, which will serve as the coordinating center for these follow-up assessments. The battery, which takes about 40 minutes to complete, will assess cognition, mental health, quality of life, and employment - all of which have been shown to be adversely affected in between one third and two thirds of survivors of sepsis.


501 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Suspected or confirmed infection as evidenced by ordering of blood cultures and administration of at least one antimicrobial agent

  • Anticipated or confirmed intensive care unit (ICU) admission

  • Acute respiratory or cardiovascular organ dysfunction attributed to sepsis as evidenced by at least one of the following requirements:

    1. Vasopressor Requirement - Continuous infusion of norepinephrine, epinephrine, vasopressin, dopamine, phenylephrine or other vasopressor agents at any dose for greater than 1 hour and required to maintain a mean arterial pressure ≥ 65 mm Hg despite intravenous crystalloid infusion of at least 1000cc
    2. Respiratory Support Requirement - Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure defined as persistent hypoxemia (partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2)/fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) ≤ 300 or blood oxygen saturation (SpO2)/FiO2 ≤ 315) requiring (1) intubation and mechanical ventilation, or (2) positive pressure ventilation via tight-fitting face mask (i.e. continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) or (3) high flow nasal cannula ≥ 40 liter per minute (LPM) flow and FiO2 ≥ 0.40

Exclusion criteria

  • Weight < 40 kilograms (kg)
  • Prior enrollment in this study
  • Qualifying organ dysfunction no longer present at the time subject would be randomized
  • Cardiovascular or respiratory organ failure caused by an illness other than sepsis
  • First episode of qualifying organ dysfunction during the current emergency department (ED) or ICU admission occurred > 24 hours before the subject could be randomized
  • Limitations of care (defined as refusal of cardiovascular and respiratory support modes) including "do not intubate" (DNI) status
  • Current hospitalization > 30 days at time of randomization
  • Chronic hypoxemia requiring supplemental non-invasive oxygen (nasal cannula or NIPPV) or home mechanical ventilation
  • Chronic cardiovascular failure requiring home mechanical hemodynamic support (e.g., LVAD) or home chemical hemodynamic support (e.g., milrinone)
  • Known allergy or contraindication to vitamin C, thiamine, and/or corticosteroids (including previously or currently diagnosed primary hyperoxaluria and/or oxalate nephropathy, or known/suspected ethylene glycol ingestion, or known glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency)
  • Use of vitamin C at a dose of > 1 gram daily within the 24 hours preceding first episode of qualifying organ dysfunction during a given ED or ICU admission
  • Chronic disease/illness that, in the opinion of the site investigator, have an expected lifespan of < 30 days unrelated to current sepsis diagnosis (e.g., stage IV malignancy, neurodegenerative disease, etc.)
  • Pregnancy or known active breastfeeding
  • Prisoner or Incarceration
  • Current participation in another interventional research study
  • Inability or unwillingness of subject or legal surrogate/representative to give written informed consent

Trial design

Primary purpose

Supportive Care



Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Double Blind

501 participants in 2 patient groups, including a placebo group

Treatment Protocol
Experimental group
Participants randomized to the treatment protocol will receive the VICTAS Intervention, consisting of intravenous vitamin C, thiamine, and hydrocortisone for four days or until ICU discharge.
Drug: Hydrocortisone
Drug: Thiamine
Drug: Vitamin C
Control Protocol
Placebo Comparator group
A placebo to match the VICTAS intervention will be administered for four days or until ICU discharge. During the treatment period, if an indication for steroids exist, the treating physicians are permitted to initiate open-label corticosteroid therapy based on local practice and international guidelines. If this occurs, the hydrocortisone/placebo will be withheld and subjects will be started on open-label corticosteroids.
Drug: Hydrocortisone Placebo
Drug: Vitamin C Placebo
Drug: Thiamine Placebo

Trial documents

Trial contacts and locations



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