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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effective dosing of L-carnitine in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ruiping Shang*, Zhiqi Sun and Hui Li

Author Affiliations

Department of Cardiology, Daqing General Hospital Group, Oilfield General Hospital, No. 9 Zhongkang Road, Daqing City 163001, Heilong Jiang Province, China

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2014, 14:88  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-88

Published: 21 July 2014

Abstract

Background

L-carnitine supplementation has been associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, ventricular arrhythmia, and angina in the setting of acute myocardial infarction (MI). However, on account of strict homeostatic regulation of plasma L-carnitine concentrations, higher doses of L-carnitine supplementation may not provide additional therapeutic benefits. This study aims to evaluate the effects of various oral maintenance dosages of L-carnitine on all-cause mortality and cardiovascular morbidities in the setting of acute MI.

Methods

After a systematic review of several major electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library) up to November 2013, a meta-analysis of five controlled trials (n = 3108) was conducted to determine the effects of L-carnitine on all-cause mortality and cardiovascular morbidities in the setting of acute MI.

Results

The interaction test yielded no significant differences between the effects of the four daily oral maintenance dosages of L-carnitine (i.e., 2 g, 3 g, 4 g, and 6 g) on all-cause mortality (risk ratio [RR] = 0.77, 95% CI [0.57-1.03], P = 0.08) with a statistically insignificant trend favoring the 3 g dose (RR = 0.48) over the lower 2 g dose (RR = 0.62), which was favored over the higher 4 g and 6 g doses (RR = 0.78, 0.78). There was no significant differences between the effects of the daily oral maintenance dosages of 2 g and 6 g on heart failure (RR = 0.53, 95% CI [0.25-1.13], P = 0.10), unstable angina (RR = 0.90, 95% CI [0.51-1.58], P = 0.71), or myocardial reinfarction (RR = 0.74, 95% CI [0.30-1.80], P = 0.50).

Conclusions

There appears to be no significant marginal benefit in terms of all-cause mortality, heart failure, unstable angina, or myocardial reinfarction in the setting of acute MI for oral L-carnitine maintenance doses of greater or less than 3 g per day.

Keywords:
Carnitine, L-carnitine; Dose, Dosage, Dosing; Cardiovascular, Myocardial infarction, MI