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Blood Purif. 2006;24(1):140-2.

Debate forum: carnitine supplements have not been demonstrated as effective in patients on long-term dialysis therapy.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA 01854, USA.


The database for carnitine supplements in dialysis includes no large-scale randomized trials and no registered trials. Medical practitioners prefer to make treatment decisions based on the outcome of randomized clinical trials, with appropriate controls. Furthermore, registered trials provide a further level of integrity, since trial registration avoids publication bias by ensuring that all outcomes are reported, including trials that are not completed. Positive effects reported from carnitine administration in dialysis patients include decreased erythropoietin dose, increased hematocrit, less intradialytic hypotension, and less fatigue. The evidence for carnitine effectiveness is limited to trials that are mostly open-label and that include no more than a total of 1,000 patients. An analysis of recent carnitine administrations to patients in a large dialysis practice database indicates no overall change in hemoglobin or erythropoietin dose following 6 months of carnitine administration. As outcomes of controlled trials with appropriate power to examine for the benefits of carnitine are not yet available, the dialysis practitioner cannot justify the administration of carnitine.

Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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