Article

L-Carnitine Supplementation for the Management of Fatigue in Patients With Cancer: An Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Phase III, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Ricardo A. Cruciani, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Journal of Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 17.88). 09/2012; 30(31). DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.40.2180
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT PURPOSEL-carnitine, a popular complementary and alternative medicine product, is used by patients with cancer for the treatment of fatigue, the most commonly reported symptom in this patient population. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of L-carnitine supplementation as a treatment for fatigue in patients with cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients with invasive malignancies and fatigue were randomly assigned to either 2 g/d of L-carnitine oral supplementation or matching placebo. The primary end point was the change in average daily fatigue from baseline to week 4 using the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI). RESULTS: -0.96, 95% CI, -1.32 to -0.60; placebo: -1.11, 95% CI -1.44 to -0.78). There were no statistically significant differences between arms (P = .57). Secondary outcomes, including fatigue measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue instrument, depression, and pain, did not show significant difference between arms. A separate analysis of patients who were carnitine-deficient at baseline did not show statistically significant improvement in fatigue or other outcomes after L-carnitine supplementation. CONCLUSION
Four weeks of 2 g of L-carnitine supplementation did not improve fatigue in patients with invasive malignancies and good performance status.

0 Followers
 · 
77 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is an interdependent relationship between insomnia and fatigue in the medical literature, but both remain distinct entities. Insomnia entails problematic sleep initiation, maintenance, or restoration with an accompanying decrease in perceived daytime function. Lethargy is a symptom that has a wide differential diagnosis that heavily overlaps with cancer-related fatigue; however, insomnia may contribute to worsened fatigue and lethargy in cancer patients. Insomnia is a major risk factor for mood disturbances such as depression, which may also contribute to lethargy in this at-risk population. The pathophysiology of fatigue and insomnia is discussed in this review, including their differential diagnoses as well as the emerging understanding of the roles of neurotransmitters, branched-chain amino acids, and inflammatory cytokines. Treatment approaches for insomnia and fatigue are also discussed and reviewed, including the role of hypnotics, psychotropics, hormonal agents, and alternative therapies.
    Current Oncology Reports 04/2014; 16(4):377. DOI:10.1007/s11912-014-0377-1 · 2.87 Impact Factor
  • Der Onkologe 01/2013; 19(10). DOI:10.1007/s00761-013-2545-6 · 0.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of L-carnitine supplementation on fatigue in patients with terminal human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, patients who had end-stage HIV/AIDS with carnitine deficiency and fatigue received 3 g of oral L-carnitine or placebo for 2 weeks, followed by a 2-week, open-label phase with the same amount of L-carnitine for all patients. The primary outcome was the degree of fatigue according to the Brief Fatigue Inventory. Secondary outcomes included serum carnitine and lactate levels, physical, emotional, social, and functional well-being, performance status, mood, and CD4 count. Eighteen patients in the treatment arm and 17 in the placebo arm completed the trial. At the end of the double-blind phase, total and free carnitine levels in the treatment arm rose from 28±9 to 48±17 nM/L (P<0.001) and from 24±8 to 40±13 nM/L (P<0.001) respectively, with no changes in the placebo arm. The primary outcome, ie, fatigue measured at the end of the blinded phase, did not improve. Secondary outcomes of function, quality of life, and mood did not show improvement either. The secondary outcome of serum lactate decreased from baseline in the treatment group (1.45±0.76 to 1.28±0.52 mmol/L) and increased in the placebo group (1.38±0.62 to 1.84±0.74 mmol/L; P<0.005). Our study suggests that 3 g of oral L-carnitine supplementation for 2 weeks in terminally ill HIV/AIDS patients does not improve fatigue. This study might help to determine the dose and duration of treatment used in future clinical trials, as higher doses and/or longer periods of supplementation might be needed in order to detect an improvement. The reduction in serum lactate levels suggests a potential role for L-carnitine supplementation in patients undergoing certain types of antiretroviral therapy. This study contributes evidence-based data to the field of alternative and complementary medicine, a multibillion dollar industry in which controlled studies are not the norm.
    HIV/AIDS - Research and Palliative Care 02/2015; 7:65-73. DOI:10.2147/HIV.S66695