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: 18.43). 09/2012; 30(31). DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.40.2180
Source: PubMed


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.

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