We aimed to assess the impact of L-carnitine on plasma Lp(a) concentrations through systematic review and meta-analysis of available RCTs. The literature search included selected databases up to 31 st January 2015. Meta-analysis was performed using fixed-effects or random-effect model according to I2 statistic. Effect sizes were expressed as weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI). The meta-analysis showed a significant reduction of Lp(a) levels following L-carnitine supplementation (WMD: -8.82 mg/dL, 95% CI: -10.09, -7.55, p < 0.001). When the studies were categorized according to the route of administration, a significant reduction in plasma Lp(a) concentration was observed with oral (WMD: -9.00 mg/dL, 95% CI: -10.29, -7.72, p < 0.001) but not intravenous L-carnitine (WMD: -2.91 mg/dL, 95% CI: -10.22, 4.41, p = 0.436). The results of the meta-regression analysis showed that the pooled estimate is independent of L-carnitine dose (slope: -0.30; 95% CI: -4.19, 3.59; p = 0.878) and duration of therapy (slope: 0.18; 95% CI: -0.22, 0.59; p = 0.374). In conclusion, the meta-analysis suggests a significant Lp(a) lowering by oral L-carnitine supplementation. Taking into account the limited number of available Lp(a)-targeted drugs, L-carnitine might be an effective alternative to effectively reduce Lp(a). Prospective outcome trials will be required to fully elucidate the clinical value and safety of oral L-carnitine supplementation.
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