L-carnitine

  • Carnitine is used to treat carnitine deficiency by increasing the amount in the body.
  • The most common side-effects are feeling or being sick, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

About carnitine

Type of medicine Metabolic supplement
Used for Treatment of metabolic disorders
Also called Carnitor®
L-carnitine
Levocarnitine
Available as Tablets
Capsules
Chewable tablets
Oral liquid
Injection

Carnitine is a nutrient which occurs naturally in the body. It carries fatty acids into the body cells where they are converted into a source of energy for the heart, muscles and the brain. Sometimes not enough carnitine enters the cells resulting in carnitine deficiency.

Carnitine supplements work by increasing the amount of carnitine available in the body.

Before taking carnitine

Before taking carnitine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.

How to take carnitine

  • Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
  • Take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
  • Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take each day, and this amount may vary depending on how you respond to carnitine.
  • The chewable tablets need to be chewed, whilst the other tablets must be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
  • The oral liquid may be diluted with water or fruit juice to make it taste more pleasant.
  • Try to take carnitine at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
  • If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Keep your regular doctor's appointment so your progress can be monitored.
  • Your doctor may want to check your blood or urine at regular intervals during your treatment with carnitine.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with carnitine.

Can carnitine cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible side-effects What can I do if I experience this
Feeling or being sick Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods such as dry toast
Diarrhoea and abdominal pain Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids
Body odour If this becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store carnitine

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.