Scurvy is caused by Vitamin C deficiency. Humans cannot make their own supply of Vitamin C, so Vitamin C levels depend on how much is consumed through diet, how much the body uses, and how much is eliminated through urine.

Although far less common than in previous centuries, scurvy is still present in high risk populations. Scurvy can be difficult to diagnose because early symptoms tend to be vague and nonspecific. 1
Initial symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Aching in the arms and/or legs
  • Inflammation of the gums
Advanced symptoms:
  • Small red or purple spots on the skin
  • Spontaneous bruising
  • Joint pain
  • Poor wound healing
  • Abnormal thickening of the outer layer of skin
  • Corkscrew hairs
  • Depression
  • Swollen bleeding gums
  • Loosening or loss of teeth
  • Anemia
  • Bone disease (in children)
It is important to treat scurvy because left untreated it is fatal. 2
Scurvy can be caused by either insufficient dietary intake of Vitamin C or acute illness that is accompanied by inflammation and increased metabolic consumption of Vitamin C. The following groups may be at an increased risk for developing scurvy:

  • People who suffer from alcohol abuse 2
  • Cancer patients 2
  • Critically ill patients 2, 3, 4, 5
  • People who suffer from drug addiction 2
  • Elderly people or people who prepare their own food 2
  • People with extreme diets or who struggle with regular eating habits 2
  • People with mental illness 2
  • People with severe intestinal malabsorption 2
  • Patients with end-stage renal disease on chronic hemodialysis 2
  • Pneumonia (Community-Acquired) 6
  • Smokers or people exposed to secondhand smoke 2
  • Septic patients 3, 4, 5
  1. Schleicher, RL,, Carroll MD, Ford, ES, Lacher DA. Serum vitamin C and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in the United States: 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2009, 90, 1252-1263.
  2. National Institutes of Health Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  3. Schorah, C. et al. Total vitamin C, ascorbic acid, and dehydroascorbic acid concentrations in plasma of critically ill patients. Am J Clin Nutr.1996; 63: 760-765.
  4. Carr A.C., Rosengrave P.C., Bayer S., et al. Hypovitaminosis C and vitamin C deficiency in critically ill patients despite recommended enteral and parenteral intakes. Crit Care. 2017; 21: 300.
  5. Borelli e, Roux-Lombard P, Grau GE, et al. Plasma concentrations of cytokines, their soluble receptors and antioxidant vitamins can predict the development of multiple organ failure in patients at risk. Crit Care Med. 1996; 24: 392-7.
  6. Carr A.C., et al. Patients with Community-Acquired Pneumonia Exhibit Depleted Vitamin C Status and Elevated Oxidative Stress. Nutrients. 2020; 12: 1318.

Indication & Important Safety Information


ASCOR® is vitamin C indicated for the short term (up to 1 week) treatment of scurvy in adult and pediatric patients age 5 months and older for whom oral administration is not possible, insufficient or contraindicated.

Limitations of Use:
ASCOR® is not indicated for treatment of vitamin C deficiency that is not associated with signs and symptoms of scurvy.

Important Safety Information


Contraindications: None.

Administration site reactions include pain and swelling.

ASCOR® should not be rapidly administered. Rapid intravenous administration (>250 mg/minute) of ASCOR may cause temporary faintness or nausea, lethargy, flushing, dizziness, and headache.

Acute and chronic oxalate nephropathy have occurred with prolonged administration of high doses of ascorbic acid. ASCOR® is not indicated for prolonged administration. The maximum recommended duration is one week.

In patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency severe hemolysis has occurred.

Ascorbic acid may interfere with laboratory tests based on oxidation-reduction reactions, including blood and urine glucose testing, nitrite and bilirubin levels, and leucocyte count testing. If possible, laboratory tests based on oxidation-reduction reactions should be delayed until 24 hours after infusion of ASCOR®.

Please see accompanying Full Prescribing Information for ASCOR®.