Does carnitine administration improve the symptoms attributed to anticonvulsant medications? A double-blinded, crossover study

J. M. Freeman, E. P.G. Vining, S. Cost, P. Singhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: This study was designed to assess the reported improvement in 'well-being' perceived by parents when children who are taking anticonvulsant medications are administered carnitine. Methodology. Forty-seven children with seizures who were taking either valproic acid or carbamazepine were enrolled in a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, cross-over study of the effects of oral carnitine administration (100 mg/kilo) on their well-being as perceived by their parents. The well-being scores were assessed weekly by phone and in person at the start and end of each 4-week phase. Results. The children's well-being scores improved weekly when either placebo or carnitine were administered. None of the analyses of improved well-being achieved statistical significance. Conclusion. We believe this study documents the necessity for controlled trials when assessing the subjective, beneficial effects of medications. Carnitine is expensive, costing approximately $.30/kilogram of body weight per day ($6 per day for a 20 kilo child). It would not appear warranted to administer carnitine prophylactically to children on anticonvulsant medications for alleviating common, nonspecific symptoms. Because there are no reliable clinical or laboratory tests of symptomatic carnitine deficiency caused by anticonvulsant administration, how to identify children in need of carnitine, and when to administer carnitine therapeutically to children receiving valproate or other anticonvulsants is unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-895
Number of pages3
JournalPediatrics
Volume93
Issue number6 I
StatePublished - Jun 8 1994

Keywords

  • anticonvulsant medications
  • carnitine
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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