Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 10, 2020.
(a SKOR bik AS id)
- Ascorbate Sodium
- Ascorbic Acid/Ascorbate Sodium
- Sodium Ascorbate
- Vitamin C
Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product
Capsule Extended Release, Oral:
C-Time: 500 mg
Generic: 500 mg
Capsule Extended Release, Oral [preservative free]:
Generic: 500 mg
Vita-C: (120 g, 480 g) [animal products free, gelatin free, gluten free, lactose free, no artificial color(s), no artificial flavor(s), starch free, sugar free, yeast free]
BProtected Vitamin C: 500 mg/5 mL (236 mL) [contains propylene glycol, saccharin sodium, sodium benzoate; citrus flavor]
Generic: 500 mg/5 mL (118 mL, 473 mL)
Generic: 500 mg (80 ea)
Ascocid: (227 g)
Generic: (113 g, 120 g, 480 g)
Powder Effervescent, Oral:
Ascocid-ISO-pH: (150 g) [corn free, rye free, wheat free]
Generic: 500 mg/mL (50 mL)
Solution, Injection [preservative free]:
Mega-C/A Plus: 500 mg/mL (50 mL [DSC])
Generic: 500 mg/mL (50 mL)
Solution, Intravenous [preservative free]:
Ascor: 500 mg/mL (50 mL) [contains edetate disodium]
Solution, Injection, as sodium ascorbate [preservative free]:
Ortho-CS 250: 250 mg/mL (100 mL [DSC]) [contains edetate disodium, water, sterile]
Generic: 250 mg/mL (30 mL [DSC])
Generic: 500 mg/5 mL (118 mL [DSC])
Asco-Tabs-1000: 1000 mg [color free, starch free, sugar free]
Generic: 100 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg
Tablet, Oral [preservative free]:
Generic: 250 mg, 500 mg
Tablet Chewable, Oral:
Chew-C: 500 mg
Fruit C 500: 500 mg [animal products free, gelatin free, gluten free, kosher certified, lactose free, no artificial color(s), no artificial flavor(s), starch free, sugar free, yeast free]
Fruit C: 100 mg [animal products free, gelatin free, gluten free, lactose free, no artificial color(s), no artificial flavor(s), starch free, sugar free, yeast free]
Fruity C: 250 mg
VitaChew Vit C Citrus Burst: 125 mg
Generic: 100 mg, 250 mg, 500 mg
Tablet Chewable, Oral [preservative free]:
C-500: 500 mg [animal products free, gluten free, soy free, starch free, yeast free]
Generic: 500 mg
Tablet Extended Release, Oral:
Cemill: 500 mg
Cemill SR: 1000 mg
Generic: 500 mg, 1000 mg [DSC], 1500 mg
Wafer, Oral [preservative free]:
Acerola C 500: 500 mg (50 ea) [corn free, no artificial color(s), no artificial flavor(s), wheat free, yeast free; contains acerola (malpighia glabra)]
Brand Names: U.S.
- Acerola C 500 [OTC]
- Asco-Tabs-1000 [OTC]
- Ascocid [OTC]
- Ascocid-ISO-pH [OTC]
- BProtected Vitamin C [OTC]
- C-500 [OTC]
- C-Time [OTC]
- Cemill SR [OTC]
- Cemill [OTC]
- Chew-C [OTC]
- Fruit C 500 [OTC]
- Fruit C [OTC]
- Fruity C [OTC]
- Mega-C/A Plus [DSC]
- Ortho-CS 250 [DSC]
- Vita-C [OTC]
- VitaChew Vit C Citrus Burst [OTC]
- Vitamin, Water Soluble
Ascorbic acid is an essential water soluble vitamin that acts as a cofactor and antioxidant. Ascorbic acid is an electron donor used for collagen hydroxylation, carnitine biosynthesis, and hormone/amino acid biosynthesis. It is required for connective tissue synthesis as well as iron absorption and storage (IOM 2000).
Oral: Readily absorbed in the intestine; an active process thought to be saturable and dose dependent (30 to 180 mg/day: 70% to 90%; >1,000 mg/day: ≤50%) (IOM 2000)
Pituitary and adrenal glands, leukocytes, eye tissues and humors, and brain; lower concentrations in the plasma and saliva (IOM 2000)
Reversibly oxidized to dehydroascorbic acid (DHA); both ascorbic acid and DHA are active. Unabsorbed ascorbic acid is degraded in the intestine (IOM 2000)
Urine (with high serum concentrations) (IOM 2000); there is an individual specific renal threshold for ascorbic acid; when blood levels are high, ascorbic acid is excreted in urine, whereas when the levels are subthreshold (doses up to 80 mg/day) very little if any ascorbic acid is excreted into urine
Onset of Action
Reversal of scurvy symptoms: 2 days to 3 weeks
10 hours (Schwedhelm 2003). Biological half-life: 8 to 40 days (IOM 2000)
Use: Labeled Indications
Ascorbic acid deficiency: Treatment of symptoms of mild deficiency; use in conditions requiring an increased intake (eg, burns, wound healing)
Nutritional supplement: As a dietary vitamin C supplement
Parenteral nutrition, maintenance requirement: Prevent and correct vitamin C deficiency as a supplement to IV total parenteral nutrition
Scurvy: Prevention and treatment of scurvy
Off Label Uses
Data from multiple case reports suggest that IV ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may be effective for the treatment of methemoglobinemia, when methylene blue is contraindicated or unavailable [Dhibar 2018], [Faust 2018], [Park 2017], [Park 2014], [Reeves 2016], [Rehman 2018].
Severe sepsis or septic shock
Data from one small, retrospective, before-after study suggest that IV ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in combination with IV hydrocortisone and IV thiamine in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock may be effective in decreasing mortality and preventing organ dysfunction [Marik 2017]. However, data from several prospective, randomized, controlled trials suggest IV ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (with or without IV hydrocortisone and IV thiamine) compared to placebo or hydrocortisone alone in sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome has no benefit on duration of mechanical ventilation, organ dysfunction scores, markers of inflammation and vascular injury, duration of time alive and free of vasopressor administration, ICU, or overall mortality [Fowler 2019], [Fujii 2020], [Nabil Habib 2017].
There are no contraindications listed in the manufacturer's labeling.
Ascorbic acid deficiency: IM, IV, SubQ: 70 to 150 mg daily is an average protective dose; doses 3 to 5 times the recommended dietary allowance may be adequate for conditions with increased requirements.
Burns: IM, IV, SubQ: 1 to 2 g daily for severe burns; dose may be determined by extent of tissue injury.
Methemoglobinemia (off-label use): Note: Consider when methylene blue is contraindicated (eg, suspected or documented G6PD deficiency) or unavailable; dose based on limited data, optimal dose has not been identified.
Usual dose range: IV: 1 to 10 g every 6 hours until methemoglobin levels normalize (Dhibar 2018; Faust 2018; Park 2014; Park 2017; Reeves 2016; Rehman 2018).
Nutritional supplement: Oral: 100 to 1,500 mg daily; dosage may vary depending on dosage form; consult specific product labeling.
Parenteral nutrition, maintenance requirement: IV: 200 mg/day (American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2019).
IM, IV, SubQ: 300 to 1,000 mg daily; dose and duration of therapy should be individualized; doses up to 6 g per day have been administered (per manufacturer).
Ascor: IV: 200 mg once daily for up to a maximum of 7 days. If no improvement after one week of treatment, retreat until resolution of symptoms is observed.
Oral: 100 to 300 mg daily until body stores are replenished; dose and duration of therapy should be individualized; doses as low as 10 mg may be effective (Hirschmann 1999; Popovich 2009; Weinstein 2001).
Severe sepsis or septic shock (off-label use): Note: Treatment of severe sepsis or septic shock with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), with or without corticosteroids and thiamine, may be considered, but this therapy is investigational and is not well defined at this time.
IV: 1.5 g over 30 to 60 minutes; repeat every 6 hours for 4 to 10 days until resolution of shock or until ICU discharge; some clinicians administer in combination with IV thiamine and IV hydrocortisone (Fujii 2020; Marik 2017; Nabil Habib 2017).
Wound healing: IM, IV, SubQ: 300 to 500 mg daily for 7 to 10 days pre- and post-operatively; larger doses have also been used.
Refer to adult dosing.
Parenteral nutrition additive, maintenance requirement (ASPEN [Vanek 2012]; ESPGHAN/ESPEN/ESPR/CSPEN [Bronsky 2018]):
Infants: IV: 15 to 25 mg/kg/day; maximum daily dose: 80 mg/day.
Children and Adolescents: IV: 80 mg daily.
Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Limited data available: Oral, IM, IV: Initial: 100 to 300 mg/day in divided doses for 1 week followed by 100 mg/day until normalization of tissue saturation (~1 to 3 months) (Kleinman 2013; Kliegman 2016; Popovich 2009; Weinstein 2001).
Manufacturer's labeling: Ascor:
Infants ≥5 months: IV: 50 mg once daily for 1 week.
Children <11 years: IV: 100 mg once daily for 1 week.
Children ≥11 years and Adolescents: IV: 200 mg once daily for 1 week.
Prior to IV administration, dilute in a large volume parenteral solution (eg, D5W, SWFI). Refer to manufacturer's labeling for additional preparation instructions. Note: Pressure may develop in the vial during storage.
Oral administration is preferred unless malabsorption is suspected. IM administration is preferred when the parenteral route is required. Oral products may be administered with food.
Bariatric surgery: Capsule and tablet, extended release: Some institutions may have specific protocols that conflict with these recommendations; refer to institutional protocols as appropriate. Capsule may be opened and contents sprinkled onto soft food of choice. ER tablet should be switched to IR or chewable formulation.
Injection: For IM (preferred), IV, or SubQ administration. Avoid rapid IV injection; may cause temporary faintness or dizziness.
Ascor: For IV use only. Following dilution in an appropriate IV solution (eg, D5W, SWFI), administer by slow IV infusion at a rate of 33 mg/minute.
Some products may contain sodium.
High dietary sources of ascorbic acid are citrus fruit, tomatoes/tomato juice, and potatoes; also found in other fruits, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and strawberries. Absorption from diet and supplements is similar (IOM 2000).
Dietary recommended adequate intake (AI) (IOM 2000):
0 to 6 months: 40 mg daily
7 to 12 months: 50 mg daily
Dietary recommended daily allowance (RDA) (IOM 2000): Note: Patients with hemochromatosis, G6PD deficiency, and renal impairment may be at increased risk for adverse effects when exceeding recommended intake limits.
1 to 3 years: 15 mg daily; upper limit of intake should not exceed 400 mg daily
4 to 8 years: 25 mg daily; upper limit of intake should not exceed 650 mg daily
9 to 13 years: 45 mg daily; upper limit of intake should not exceed 1,200 mg daily
14 to 18 years: Upper limit of intake should not exceed 1,800 mg daily
Males: 75 mg daily
Females: 65 mg daily
Pregnant females: 80 mg daily; upper limit of intake should not exceed 1,800 mg daily
Lactating females: 115 mg daily; upper limit of intake should not exceed 1,800 mg daily
>18 years: Upper limit should not exceed 2,000 mg daily
Males: 90 mg daily
Females: 75 mg daily
Pregnant females: 19 to 50 years: 85 mg daily
Lactating females: 19 to 50 years: 120 mg daily
Adult smoker: Add an additional 35 mg daily
Injection: Store under refrigeration at 2°C to 8°C (36° to 46°F); protect from light. Use within 4 hours of vial entry; discard remaining portion.
Oral: Store at room temperature.
Aluminum Hydroxide: Ascorbic Acid may increase the absorption of Aluminum Hydroxide. Management: In patients with severe renal dysfunction, consider avoiding this combination. Administering agents at least 2 hours apart may help minimize effects. Monitor for toxic effects of aluminum (from antacid) if ascorbic acid is coadministered. Consider therapy modification
Amphetamines: Ascorbic Acid may decrease the serum concentration of Amphetamines. Monitor therapy
Bortezomib: Ascorbic Acid may diminish the therapeutic effect of Bortezomib. Management: Patients should avoid taking vitamin C supplements and vitamin C-containing multivitamins during their bortezomib therapy. It is probably unnecessary to advise patients to avoid foods/beverages that contain vitamin C (e.g., citrus fruits, etc.). Consider therapy modification
Copper: May decrease the serum concentration of Ascorbic Acid. Management: To minimize the risk for ascorbic acid degradation, add multivitamin product to TPN solution immediately prior to infusion or administer multivitamin and copper in separate containers. Consider therapy modification
CycloSPORINE (Systemic): Ascorbic Acid may decrease the serum concentration of CycloSPORINE (Systemic). Monitor therapy
Deferoxamine: Ascorbic Acid may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Deferoxamine. Left ventricular dysfunction is of particular concern. Management: Avoid ascorbic acid doses greater than 200 mg/day. Lower doses may be given to patients without cardiac failure, after one month of regular treatment with deferoxamine alone, ideally soon after setting up the infusion pump. Monitor cardiac function. Consider therapy modification
Estrogen Derivatives: Ascorbic Acid may increase the serum concentration of Estrogen Derivatives. Monitor therapy
False-negative stool occult blood 48 to 72 hours after ascorbic acid ingestion.
Ascorbic acid may interfere with laboratory tests based on oxidation-reduction reactions (eg, blood and urine glucose testing, nitrite and bilirubin levels, leucocyte count). High-dose ascorbic acid has been associated with falsely-elevated glucose measurements by point of care glucometers. Use of plasma laboratory assays or an FDA-approved device that corrects for interferences are recommended (Hager 2019; Tran 2014; Vasudevan 2014). Alternatively, laboratory tests based on oxidation-reduction reactions should be delayed until 24 hours after dose.
1% to 10%: Endocrine & metabolic: Hyperoxaluria (with large doses)
<1%: Diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, flank pain, flushing, headache, heartburn, nausea, vomiting
Concerns related to adverse effects:
• Oxalate nephropathy/nephrolithiasis: Acidification of the urine by ascorbic acid may cause precipitation of cysteine, urate or oxalate stones. Acute and chronic oxalate nephropathy has been reported with prolonged administration of high IV doses. Patients with renal disease including renal impairment, history of oxalate kidney stones, elderly patients and pediatric patients <2 years of age may be at increased risk. Monitor renal function in patients at increased risk. Discontinue in patients who develop oxalate nephropathy.
• Diabetes: Patients with diabetes mellitus should not take excessive doses for extended periods of time.
• Glucose-6-phosphatase dehydrogenase deficiency: Hemolysis has been reported in patients with glucose-6-phosphatase dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency and the risk for severe hemolysis may be increased during ascorbic acid therapy. Dose reductions may be necessary along with appropriate monitoring (eg, hemoglobin, blood counts). Discontinue treatment if hemolysis is suspected.
• Hemochromatosis: Use with caution in patients with hemochromatosis; excess ascorbic acid intake may increase the risk of adverse events (IOM 2000).
• Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment or patients prone to recurrent renal calculi; may have increased risk of developing acute or chronic oxalate nephropathy.
• Elderly: Use with caution in the elderly; may be at increased risk for oxalate nephropathy.
• Pediatric: Use with caution in the children <2 years of age; may be at increased risk for oxalate nephropathy due to immature kidney function.
Dosage form specific issues:
• Aluminum: The parenteral product may contain aluminum; toxic aluminum concentrations may be seen with high doses, prolonged use, or renal dysfunction. Premature neonates are at higher risk due to immature renal function and aluminum intake from other parenteral sources. Parenteral aluminum exposure of >4 to 5 mcg/kg/day is associated with CNS and bone toxicity; tissue loading may occur at lower doses (Federal Register 2002). See manufacturer's labeling.
• Benzyl alcohol and derivatives: Some dosage forms may contain sodium benzoate/benzoic acid; benzoic acid (benzoate) is a metabolite of benzyl alcohol; large amounts of benzyl alcohol (≥99 mg/kg/day) have been associated with a potentially fatal toxicity (“gasping syndrome”) in neonates; the “gasping syndrome” consists of metabolic acidosis, respiratory distress, gasping respirations, CNS dysfunction (including convulsions, intracranial hemorrhage), hypotension, and cardiovascular collapse (AAP ["Inactive" 1997]; CDC 1982); some data suggests that benzoate displaces bilirubin from protein binding sites (Ahlfors 2001); avoid or use dosage forms containing benzyl alcohol derivative with caution in neonates. See manufacturer's labeling.
• Injection: Avoid rapid IV injection; may cause temporary faintness or dizziness.
• Sodium: Some products may contain sodium; use with caution in sodium restricted patients.
Renal function (patients at risk for developing oxalate nephropathy/nephrolithiasis); hemoglobin and blood counts (patients with G6PD deficiency).
Deficiency symptoms: May appear within 1 month of low intake (<10 mg/day) (ASPEN 2017; Vitamin C 2018). Symptoms include fatigue, malaise, corkscrew hair, and inflammation of the gums progressing to petechia, ecchymosis, purpura, joint pain, and poor wound healing.
Scurvy: Symptoms include depression; swollen, bleeding gums; loosening of teeth; and iron-deficiency anemia due to bleeding and decreased nonheme iron absorption (Vitamin C 2018).
Laboratory assessment: Plasma ascorbic acid is the preferred method of this vitamin's status (ASPEN 2017). Interpretation of plasma/ascorbic acid levels are as follows: Sufficient: >23 mcmol/L (0.4 mg/dL); Low: 12 to 23 mcmol/L (0.2 to 0.4 mg/dL); Deficient: ≤11 mcmol/L (0.2 mg/dL)
Pregnancy Risk Factor
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted. Maternal plasma concentrations of ascorbic acid decrease as pregnancy progresses due to hemodilution and increased transfer to the fetus. Some pregnant women (eg, smokers) may require supplementation greater than the RDA (IOM 2000).
What is this drug used for?
• It is used to treat or prevent vitamin C deficiency.
• It is used to treat scurvy.
• It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
• Injection site irritation
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
• Kidney problems like unable to pass urine, blood in the urine, change in amount of urine passed, or weight gain.
• Kidney stone like back pain, abdominal pain, or blood in the urine.
• Severe loss of strength and energy
• Dark urine
• Yellow skin
• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine's uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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