Aim: We measured carnitine levels in patients with
carnitine including dialysis patients, and examined whether administration of
L-carnitine improved muscle symptoms. Methods: We measured carnitine levels in
27 patients with liver cirrhosis who were receiving treatment in our hospital,
and administered L-carnitine (600 mg - 1800 mg) to patients having muscle
cramps for approximately one month and examined the presence/absence of the
symptom. We measured carnitine concentration before and after dialysis, before
dialysis after the administration to eight dialysis patients, before and after
the administration to 19 nondialytic patients. Results: The total carnitine
levels before the dialysis of dialysis patients were an average of 42.2 μmol/L
and fell to 17.7 μmol/L after more dialysis, but it was increased to 155 μmol/L
after the administration of L-carnitine. In the nondialytic patients, the
total carnitine levels were significantly increased from 71.7 μmol/L to 101.7
μmol/L after the administration of L-carnitine (P = 0.038). For symptomatic patients, significant improvement of
muscle clamps was observed in the L-carnitine administrated group when compared
with the non-administrated group (P =
0.0002). Conclusions: Total carnitine levels were low even before dialysis in
the dialysis patients with liver cirrhosis in particular and they further
decreased after the dialysis. Administration of L-carnitine increased the total
carnitine levels and improved the symptom. Based on these results, we conclude
that L-carnitine is useful for carnitine deficiency in patients with liver
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