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Clin Nephrol. 2000 Dec;54(6):470-7.

Evaluation of the effect of intravenous l-carnitine on quality of life in chronic hemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Sciences CSU, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada.



The aim of this study was to determine the effect of l-carnitine on quality of life (QOL) in chronic hemodialysis patients.


This trial used a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover design. Inclusion criteria were patients who were older than 18 years, had been on dialysis for a minimum of one year, and had at least two of the following symptoms: intradialytic hypotension, muscle cramping, lack of energy, muscle weakness or myopathy, cardiomyopathy, or lack of responsiveness to erythropoietin (EPO). Patients were excluded if they were mentally incompetent to complete a QOL questionnaire. Sixteen patients were randomized to receive either l-carnitine (20 mg/kg) or placebo (normal saline) after each dialysis session for 12 weeks, followed by a 6-week washout, then the crossover therapy for 12 weeks. The Kidney Dialysis Questionnaire was the assessment tool used to evaluate QOL.


There was no significant effect of l-carnitine on QOL irrespective of treatment order. There were also no differences found in any of the secondary outcomes including incidence of muscle cramping, intradialytic hypotension, EPO requirements or hemoglobin. Adverse effects consisted of gastrointestinal symptoms, with a similar incidence between l-carnitine and placebo.


L-carnitine did not have a benefit on QOL in our patient population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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