Acetyl-L-Carnitine in the Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
In a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study involving patients between the ages of 40 and 70 years with definite or probable amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who were self-sufficient (able to swallow, cut food/handle utensils, walk), with forced vital capacity of > 80%, who were followed for 48 weeks, supplementation with acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC), 3 g/d, added to riluzole 100 mg/d, was found to be "effective, well-tolerated and safe." Specifically, while 97.5% of those on the placebo became non-self-sufficient, 80.9% of those on ALC became non-self-sufficient, according to intention-to-treat analysis, and according to per-protocol population, those percentages were 100% and 84.4%, respectively. At 48 weeks, mean forced vital capacity was 58.6 in the placebo group versus 90.3 in the ALC group, and mean ALSFRS-R scores were 27.6 and 33.6, respectively. The authors conclude, "In conclusion, ALC may be effective, well-tolerated and safe in ALS. A pivotal phase III trial is needed."