Despite recent advances in management of patients in intensive care units, sepsis and septic shock are the major causes of morbidity and mortality. Prompt and adequate antibiotic therapy accompanied by surgical removal of the infectious material are the first-line therapy of choice. In addition, various immunomodulatory treatments have been investigated during the past decades. However, despite promising results in studies with animal models, studies in humans with antibodies against lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 have not been successful. In addition, high doses of steroids, immunoglobulins or antibodies against LPS and cytokines did not reduce mortality, probably owing to timing and dosage of these drugs. Prophylactic administration of immunomodulatory drugs cannot be recommended due to severe adverse effects. However, owing to pleiotropic effects of statins this class of cholesterol lowering drugs has been suggested to be beneficial as adjuvant therapy for sepsis. The present review summarizes the pathophysiology of sepsis as well as experimental and clinical evidence for the use of statins in sepsis.
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