Double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled clinical trial with L-acetylcarnitine in patients with degenerative cerebellar ataxia

Clin Neuropharmacol. Mar-Apr 2000;23(2):114-8. doi: 10.1097/00002826-200003000-00010.

Abstract

Despite the different genetic defects underlying degenerative ataxias, it has been suggested that mitochondrial energy production and antioxidative metabolism dysfunction may be common biochemical alterations related to these diseases. Acetylcarnitine, a cholinomimetic substance, is involved in oxidative metabolism and is a potential source of acetyl groups for the synthesis of acetylcholine in the mammalian brain. To determine whether treatment with L-acetylcarnitine may improve some clinical conditions of patients with ataxia, a double-blind crossover study with L-acetylcarnitine was performed in 24 patients with degenerative cerebellar diseases. Patients were selected from an ongoing prospective follow-up study at the Department of Neurology at the University of Florence, Italy. Each treatment phase with L-acetylcarnitine or placebo lasted 6 months, after which patients were crossed over to the other treatment phase. Ataxia was documented and quantified with use of a clinical score. After the trial, we observed a statistically significant improvement of some symptoms and a slow progression of the disease in both groups of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcarnitine / therapeutic use*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / drug therapy*
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / genetics
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Nootropic Agents
  • Acetylcarnitine