Creatine monohydrate in ALS: effects on strength, fatigue, respiratory status and ALSFRS

Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2008 Oct;9(5):266-72. doi: 10.1080/17482960802028890.


Our objective was to determine the effect of creatine monohydrate on disease progression in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). One hundred and seven patients with the diagnosis of probable or definite ALS, of less than five years duration from symptom onset, were randomized to either treatment with daily creatine monohydrate (5 g/d) or placebo. In this multicenter, double-blinded study we followed changes in disease progression: using quantitative measures of strength via maximal isometric voluntary contraction, forced vital capacity, ALSFRS, quality of life, fatigue and survival. Patients were followed for nine months. The results showed that creatine monohydrate did not significantly improve motor, respiratory or functional capacity in this patient population. The drug was well tolerated and the study groups well balanced, especially considering the absence of forced vital capacity criteria for entrance into the study. There was a trend toward improved survival in patients taking daily creatine monohydrate and this was identical to the trend seen in another recently published report of creatine in ALS patients 1. In conclusion, creatine monohydrate (5 g/d) did not have an obvious benefit on the multiple markers of disease progression measured over nine months. We measured fatigue during isometric contraction and found no significant improvement despite anecdotal patient reports prior to and during the study. The trend toward improved survival was also found in another recently completed blinded trial using creatine monohydrate. Further investigation on the possible survival benefit of creatine in this patient population is ongoing.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / drug therapy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Creatine / pharmacology*
  • Creatine / therapeutic use*
  • Creatine / urine
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects*
  • Placebos
  • Quality of Life
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity / drug effects*


  • Biomarkers
  • Placebos
  • Creatine