Creatine phosphate: pharmacological and clinical perspectives

Adv Ther. 2012 Feb;29(2):99-123. doi: 10.1007/s12325-011-0091-4.


Since the 1970s, extensive experimental and clinical research has demonstrated that relevant reductions of creatine phosphate (CrP) or phosphocreatine availability occur in a wide spectrum of pathophysiological situations. A decrease in intracellular concentrations of creatine (Cr) and CrP results in a hypodynamic state of cardiac and skeletal muscle pathology. Many experimental and clinical studies have evaluated the possibility to improve cardiac and skeletal muscle performance by exogenous administration of CrP. Furthermore, many experimental studies have shown that CrP may play two important roles in the regulation of muscle energetics and work. First, CrP maintains local adenosine triphosphate pools and stabilizes cellular membranes due to electrostatic interactions with phospholipids. The second mechanism decreases the production of lysophosphoglycerides in hypoxic hearts, protects the sarcolemma of cardiac cells against ischemic damage, decreases the frequency of arrhythmias, and increases post-ischemic recovery of contractile function. Recent research on CrP has demonstrated positive therapeutic results in various clinical applications. These benefits have been applied in several pathological conditions, such as heart failure, acute myocardial ischemia, chronic ischemic heart disease, cardiac surgery, skeletal muscle hypotonotrophy, and cerebral ischemia. This review describes the CrP shuttle, pathophysiological basis of the supplementation of CrP, and its therapeutic effects in multiple clinical conditions. The major aim is to summarize results of the intense research carried out over 40 years to provide evidence to support the adjunctive use of CrP in many pathological conditions that may target cellular energy impairment; thus, increasing energy metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Phosphocreatine / pharmacology*
  • Phosphocreatine / physiology*


  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Phosphocreatine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate