According to a new analysis suggests that anti-inflammatory agents work best in cases of sepsis which are life-threatening. Sepsis is a condition of overwhelming infection, in which bacteria invade the blood stream. It is potentially fatal, because it carries the risk of multiple organ failure. In fact, sepsis claims many lives in the intensive care unit, because patients here are very vulnerable to infection.
Treatment is usually by anti-inflammatory agents, which can damp down the infection. But success of anti-inflammatory agents is variable. Researchers in the US carried out a large retrospective study, covering 20 clinical trials and 35 pre-clinical trials on animals. This revealed that anti-inflammatory agents were most effective when the patient was thought to have the highest risk of death from sepsis. If the risk of death was low, the patient could actually be harmed by anti-inflammatory agents. The researchers then confirmed their findings with tests involving 1,125 rats, exposed to varying doses of anti-inflammatory agents.