We performed a prospective study to evaluate the ability of L-carnitine, which is involved in the β-oxidation of fatty acids, to reduce muscle cramps in patients with cirrhosis. Consecutive patients with cirrhosis and muscle cramps were given L-carnitine 300 mg, 3 times/day (900 mg/day, n = 19) or 4 times/day (1200 mg/day, n = 23) for 8 weeks. The frequency of muscle cramps was assessed by questionnaires, and the degree of muscle cramping was assessed by using the visual analogue scale (VAS). Muscle cramping was reduced in 88.1% of all subjects at the end of the 8-week study period and disappeared for 28.6% of patients. Overall VAS scores decreased significantly from 69.9 ± 22.5 at baseline to 26.2 ± 29.1 after 8 weeks (P < .0001). The dose of L-carnitine was significantly associated with percentages of patients with reduced muscle cramps after 8 weeks (43.5% in the 1200 mg/day group vs 10.5% in the 900 mg/day group, P = .037) and VAS scores at 8 weeks (9.9 ± 13.5 in the 1200 mg/day group vs 39.6 ± 31.9 in the 900 mg/day group, P = .003). No adverse events were reported. Therefore, L-carnitine appears to be safe and effective for reducing liver cramps in patients with cirrhosis.
Keywords: Clinical Trial; Fatty Acid; Lipid Metabolism; Liver Fibrosis.
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