- What is levocarnitine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the side effects of levocarnitine?
- What is the dosage for levocarnitine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with levocarnitine?
- Is levocarnitine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about levocarnitine?
What is levocarnitine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Levocarnitine (Carnitor) is a naturally occurring substance that the cells of mammals need to produce energy. It is used to treat carnitine deficiency. Carnitine is a small protein that binds to and helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, the site of energy production within cells. In the mitochondria, carnitine binds to and removes toxins from the cells.
Carnitine deficiency is a condition that prevents the body from using certain fats for energy and causes a variety of symptoms including severe brain dysfunction (encephalopathy), a weakened and enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy), muscle weakness, confusion, vomiting, and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Levocarnitine corrects low carnitine levels and reverses symptoms of carnitine deficiency. The FDA approved levocarnitine in December 1985.
What brand names are available for levocarnitine?
Carnitor, Carnitor Sugar-Free
Is levocarnitine available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for levocarnitine?
What are the side effects of levocarnitine?
Common side effects include:
- Belly cramps
- Loose stool (diarrhea)
- Muscle weakness
- Body odor
Other reported side effects include:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Vitamin K deficiency
- Increased risk of bleeding
- Rhabdomyolysis (break down of muscle tissue)
Which drugs or supplements interact with levocarnitine?
Combining levocarnitine and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) may increase the risk of bleeding by an unknown mechanism. If these drugs must be combined, the effect of warfarin treatment must be closely monitored and the dosage must be adjusted accordingly.
Is levocarnitine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Levocarnitine has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. Levocarnitine should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Levocarnitine supplementation has not been studied in nursing mothers, and it is not known whether levocarnitine is excreted into human milk.
What else should I know about levocarnitine?
What preparations of levocarnitine are available?
- Oral tablets: 330 mg
- Oral solution: 1 g/10 ml
How should I keep levocarnitine stored?
Levocarnitine should be stored at room temperature, between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).
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Levocarnitine (Carnitor) is a drug prescribed to treat cartine deficiency. Side effects, drug interactions, dosing, storage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Kidney pain has a variety of causes and symptoms. Infection, injury, trauma, bleeding disorders, kidney stones, and less common conditions may lead to kidney pain. Symptoms associated with kidney pain may include fever, vomiting, nausea, flank pain, and painful urination. Treatment of kidney pain depends on the cause of the pain.
Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) usually is caused by E. coli and other bacteria that have spread from the bladder from a UTI (urinary tract infection), poor hygiene, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, catheter, cystoscope exam, surgery, kidney stones, or prostate enlargement. Symptoms of kidney infection include back pain, frequent urination, pain during urination, fever, and or pus or blood in the urine. Kidney infection can be cured with antibiotic treatment. Cranberry juice may prevent UTIs, but that hasn’t been proven in all research studies.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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