Objectives: To study the safety and efficacy (with reference to exercise ECG testing) of oral L-carnitine in chronic stable angina.
Methods: Forty-seven patients, 30 men and 17 women, aged 56 +/- 8 years, were randomized to receive L-carnitine (n = 28) or placebo (n = 19) in the dose of 2 g/day for 3 months. The adjuvant treatment was not changed during the study. Patients were evaluated by computerized stress test (CST) done at the beginning and end of the trial. The parameters assessed were exercise duration, time to onset of ST changes, total ST score at peak exercise, rate-pressure product at peak exercise, and time needed for the ST changes to recover to baseline.
Results: The two groups were comparable at the beginning of the study. There was no change in the CST parameters in the placebo group at the end of 3 months. In the L-carnitine group there was a statistically significant improvement in the exercise duration from 7.8 +/- 2.2 min to 8.6 +/- 1.8 min (p = 0.006) and in the time needed for the ST changes to revert to baseline from 7.2 +/- 3.9 min to 5.7 +/- 3.8 min (p = 0.019). No change was noted in the time to onset for ST depression, ST score and double product. There were no systemic adverse effects or coronary events in either group.
Conclusion: Oral L-carnitine is safe and moderately improves the duration of exercise and time to recovery of ST changes in patients with chronic stable angina.