Purpose of review
A complex network of hormones and other effectors characterize the hypermetabolic response in critical illness; these mediators work together to induce numerous pathophysiologic alterations. Increased incidence of infection, multiorgan failure, long-term debilitation, delays in rehabilitation, and death result from an inability to meet the prohibitively elevated protein and energy requirements, which occur during illness and can persist for several years. Pharmacologic interventions have been successfully utilized to attenuate particular aspects of the hypermetabolic response; these modalities are a component of managing critically ill patients – including those patients with severe burns. Here, we review recent advances in pharmacologically attenuating the hypermetabolic and catabolic responses.
Propranolol, a nonspecific β-adrenergic receptor antagonist, is one of the most widely used anticatabolic therapies. Oxandrolone, testosterone, and intensive insulin therapy represent anabolic pharmacological strategies. Promising therapies, such as metformin, glucagon-like peptide 1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists, are currently being investigated.
Profound metabolic derangements occur in critically ill patients; this hypermetabolic response is a major contributor to adverse outcomes. Despite the pharmacological therapies currently available to counteract this devastating cascade, future studies are warranted to explore new multimodality agents that will counteract these effects while maintaining glycemic control and preventing unfavorable complications.