Burns: An update on current pharmacotherapy

Yesenia Rojas, Celeste C. Finnerty, Ravi S. Radhakrishnan, David N. Herndon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Introduction: The worldwide occurrence of burn injuries remains high despite efforts to reduce injury incidence through public awareness campaigns and improvements in living conditions. In 2004, almost 11 million people experienced burns severe enough to warrant medical treatment. Advances over the past several decades in aggressive resuscitation, nutrition, excision and grafting have reduced morbidity and mortality. Incorporation of pharmacotherapeutics into treatment regimens may further reduce complications of severe burn injuries. Areas covered: Severe burn injuries, as well as other forms of stress and trauma, trigger a hypermetabolic response that, if left untreated, impedes recovery. In the past two decades, use of anabolic agents, β-adrenergic receptor antagonists and anti-hyperglycemic agents has successfully counteracted post-burn morbidities including catabolism, the catecholamine-mediated response and insulin resistance. Here, the authors review the most up-to-date information on currently used pharmacotherapies in the treatment of these sequelae of severe burns and the insights that have expanded the understanding of the pathophysiology of severe burns. Expert opinion: Existing drugs offer promising advances in the care of burn injuries. Continued gains in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving the hypermetabolic response will enable the application of additional existing drugs to be broadened to further attenuate the hypermetabolic response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2485-2494
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Burns
  • Growth hormone
  • Hypermetabolic response
  • Ketoconazole
  • Oxandrolone
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Propranolol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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