Sci Rep. 2023 Jul 23;13(1):11879. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-37934-z.
Patients hospitalised with community acquired pneumonia (CAP) have low peripheral blood vitamin C concentrations and limited antioxidant capacity. The feasibility of a trial of vitamin C supplementation to improve patient outcomes was assessed. Participants with moderate and severe CAP (CURB-65 ≥ 2) on intravenous antimicrobial treatment were randomised to either intravenous vitamin C (2.5 g 8 hourly) or placebo before switching to oral intervention (1 g tds) for 7 days when they were prescribed oral antimicrobial therapy. Of 344 patients screened 75 (22%) were randomised and analysed. The median age was 76 years, and 43 (57%) were male. In each group, one serious adverse event that was potentially intervention related occurred, and one subject discontinued treatment. Vitamin C concentrations were 226 µmol/L in the vitamin C group and 19 µmol/L in the placebo group (p < 0.001) after 3 intravneous doses. There were no signficant differences between the vitamin C and placebo groups for death within 28 days (0 vs. 2; p = 0.49), median length of stay (69 vs. 121 h; p = 0.07), time to clinical stability (22 vs. 49 h; p = 0.08), or readmission within 30 days (1 vs. 4; p = 0.22). The vitamin C doses given were safe, well tolerated and saturating. A randomised controlled trial to assess the efficacy of vitamin C in patients with CAP would require 932 participants (CURB-65 ≥ 2) to observe a difference in mortality and 200 participants to observe a difference with a composite endpoint such as mortality plus discharge after 7 days in hospital. These studies are feasible in a multicentre setting.