Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 40 mg/day of atorvastatin in reducing the severity of sepsis in ward patients (ASEPSIS Trial)

Crit Care. 2012 Dec 11;16(6):R231. doi: 10.1186/cc11895.


Introduction: Several observational studies suggest that statins modulate the pathophysiology of sepsis and may prevent its progression. The aim of this study was to determine if the acute administration of atorvastatin reduces sepsis progression in statin naïve patients hospitalized with sepsis.

Methods: A single centre phase II randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Patients with sepsis were randomized to atorvastatin 40 mg daily or placebo for the duration of their hospital stay up to a maximum of 28-days. The primary end-point was the rate of sepsis progressing to severe sepsis during hospitalization.

Results: 100 patients were randomized, 49 to the treatment with atorvastatin and 51 to placebo. Patients in the atorvastatin group had a significantly lower conversion rate to severe sepsis compared to placebo (4% vs. 24% p = 0.007.), with a number needed to treat of 5. No significant difference in length of hospital stay, critical care unit admissions, 28-day and 12-month readmissions or mortality was observed. Plasma cholesterol and albumin creatinine ratios were significantly lower at day 4 in the atorvastatin group (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.049 respectively). No difference in adverse events between the two groups was observed (p = 0.238).

Conclusions: Acute administration of atorvastatin in patients with sepsis may prevent sepsis progression. Further multi-centre trials are required to verify these findings.

Trial registration: International Standard Randomized Control Trial Registry ISRCTN64637517.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Atorvastatin
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heptanoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Pyrroles / administration & dosage
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Atorvastatin

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN64637517