Carnitine and its derivatives in cardiovascular disease

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. Nov-Dec 1997;40(3):265-86. doi: 10.1016/s0033-0620(97)80037-0.


Carnitine and its derivative propionyl-L-carnitine are endogenous cofactors which enhance carbohydrate metabolism and reduce the intracellular buildup of toxic metabolites in ischemic conditions. The carnitines have been, and are being used in a spectrum of diseases including multiple cardiovascular conditions. These include angina, acute myocardial infarction, postmyocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. Most published data on carnitine, propionyl-L-carnitine, and other carnitine congeners are favorable but the clinical trials have been relatively small. In currently used doses, these substances are virtually devoid of significant side effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Agents / chemistry
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Carnitine / chemistry
  • Carnitine / pharmacokinetics
  • Carnitine / pharmacology*
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy
  • Myocardial Ischemia / drug therapy
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / drug therapy


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Carnitine