Acetyl-l-carnitine in the treatment of painful antiretroviral toxic neuropathy in human immunodeficiency virus patients: an open label study.
ABSTRACT Antiretroviral toxic neuropathy causes morbidity in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients under dideoxynucleoside therapy, benefits only partially from medical therapy, and often leads to drug discontinuation. Proposed pathogeneses include a disorder of mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, eventually related to a reduction of mitochondrial DNA content, and interference with nerve growth factor activity. Carnitine is a substrate of energy production reactions in mitochondria and is involved in many anabolic reactions. Acetyl carnitine treatment promotes peripheral nerve regeneration and has neuroprotective properties and a direct analgesic role related to glutamatergic and cholinergic modulation. The aim of this study was to evaluate acetyl-l-carnitine in the treatment of painful antiretroviral toxic neuropathy in HIV patients. Twenty subjects affected by painful antiretroviral toxic neuropathy were treated with oral acetyl-l-carnitine at a dose of 2,000 mg/day for a 4-week period. Efficacy was evaluated by means of the modified Short Form McGill Pain Questionnaire with each item rated on an 11-point intensity scale at weekly intervals and by electromyography at baseline and final visit. Mean pain intensity score was significantly reduced during the study, changing from 7.35 +/- 1.98 (mean +/- SD) at baseline to 5.80 +/- 2.63 at week 4 (p = 0.0001). Electrophysiological parameters did not significantly change between baseline and week 4. In this study, acetyl-l-carnitine was effective and well tolerated in symptomatic treatment of painful neuropathy associated with antiretroviral toxicity. On the contrary, no effect was noted on neurophysiological parameters.
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ABSTRACT: A severe dose limiting axonal peripheral neuropathy may develop in subjects on treatment with the nucleoside analogues didanosine (ddl), zalcitabine (ddC), and stavudine (d4T). The impairment of mitrochondrial DNA synthesis is crucial to the pathogenesis of this disorder although other mechanisms have not been ruled out. The depletion of acetyl-carnitine, which regulates the metabolism and function of peripheral nerves could contribute to the neurotoxicity of these compounds. Non-randomized, cross-sectional study of selected patients. We measured the serum levels of acetyl- and total carnitine in 12 subjects with axonal peripheral neuropathy developed on treatment with different regimens of neurotoxic nucleoside analogues (ddl, ddC, d4T). Subjects who did not develop peripheral neuropathy while staying on treatment with ddl (n = 10) or zidovudine (n = 11) served as the control groups. HIV-negative subjects with axonal on demyelinating autoimmune neuropathies (n = 10) and healthy individuals (n = 13) were additional control groups. Subjects experiencing axonal peripheral neuropathy on treatment with ddl, ddC and d4T had significantly reduced levels of acetyl-carnitine in comparison to the control groups. No difference was observed in the levels of total carnitine between study subjects and the control groups. Our results demonstrate that subjects who developed peripheral neuropathy while staying on treatment with ddl, ddC and d4T had acetyl-carnitine deficiency. The normal levels of total carnitine in the study group appear to indicate the specificity of the defect and rule out coexisting relevant nutritional problems. The critical role of acetyl-carnitine for the metabolism and function of the peripheral nerves supports the view that the acetyl-carnitine deficiency found in these subjects may contribute to the neurotoxicity of ddl, ddC and d4T, even though the interference with mitochondrial DNA synthesis is regarded as the main cause of their toxicity.AIDS 03/1997; 11(2):185-90. · 6.41 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A short form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) has been developed. The main component of the SF-MPQ consists of 15 descriptors (11 sensory; 4 affective) which are rated on an intensity scale as 0 = none, 1 = mild, 2 = moderate or 3 = severe. Three pain scores are derived from the sum of the intensity rank values of the words chosen for sensory, affective and total descriptors. The SF-MPQ also includes the Present Pain Intensity (PPI) index of the standard MPQ and a visual analogue scale (VAS). The SF-MPQ scores obtained from patients in post-surgical and obstetrical wards and physiotherapy and dental departments were compared to the scores obtained with the standard MPQ. The correlations were consistently high and significant. The SF-MPQ was also shown to be sufficiently sensitive to demonstrate differences due to treatment at statistical levels comparable to those obtained with the standard form. The SF-MPQ shows promise as a useful tool in situations in which the standard MPQ takes too long to administer, yet qualitative information is desired and the PPI and VAS are inadequate.Pain 09/1987; 30(2):191-7. · 5.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To assess the severity of constitutional symptoms in persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and their relationship to health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Two hundred five HIV-infected patients (93% male, 26% African American, 28% Latino, 39% white, 7% other ethnicity) with diarrhea, fever, or weight loss were studied at a county hospital and a Veterans Administration hospital in southern California. Consenting subjects were administered a battery that included 11 scales measuring various aspects of health-related quality of life and detailed questions about six constitutional symptoms or symptom complexes (myalgias, exhaustion, anorexia/nausea/vomiting, night sweats, fever, and weight loss) as well as about other manifestations of HIV disease. Constitutional symptoms except weight loss were all strongly related to all measures of quality of life. On 0 (worst) to 100 (best) point scales, mean scores ranged from 34 (for individuals having all five symptoms other than weight loss) to 78 (for those with none) for physical function, 43 to 79 for emotional well-being, and 36 to 73 for social function. Adjustment for helper T-lymphocyte counts, duration of illness, and demographic characteristics did not diminish these associations. The presence, number, and severity of constitutional symptoms in HIV disease is strongly related to health-related quality of life in symptomatic HIV-infected individuals. Identifying and treating these very common symptoms has the potential to improve quality of life in these patients.The American Journal of Medicine 02/1998; 104(2):129-36. · 4.77 Impact Factor