The objective of this pilot study was to assess the effect of L-carnitine on the course of the HIV-associated lipodystrophy syndrome. Twelve patients presenting with combined atrophic and hypertrophic changes of body fat were treated with L-carnitine 1000 mg bid for 3 months. No marked improvement of the body changes was observed. However a reduction in serum cholesterol levels, but not triglycerides, was noted. These preliminary data do not support the use of L-carnitine for the rapid reversal of advanced fat tissue alterations due to HIV-associated lipodystrophy.