J Neurol Sci. 2004 Mar 15;218(1-2):103-8
Tomassini V, Pozzilli C, Onesti E, Pasqualetti P, Marinelli F, Pisani A, Fieschi C.
Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Rome "La Sapienza", viale dell' Universita 30, Rome 00185, Italy.
Treatment with acetyl l-carnitine (ALCAR) has been shown to improve fatigue in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, but there have been no trials on the effect of ALCAR for treating fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS).
To compare the efficacy of ALCAR with that of amantadine, one of the drugs most widely used to treat MS-related fatigue, 36 MS patients presenting fatigue were enrolled in a randomised, double-blind, crossover study.
Patients were treated for 3 months with either amantadine (100 mg twice daily) or ALCAR (1 g twice daily).
After a 3-month washout period, they crossed over to the alternative treatment for 3 months.
Patients were rated at baseline and every 3 months according to the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), the primary endpoint of the study.
Secondary outcome variables were: Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Social Experience Checklist (SEC).
Six patients withdrew from the study because of adverse reactions (five on amantadine and one on ALCAR).
Statistical analysis showed significant effects of ALCAR compared with amantadine for the Fatigue Severity Scale (p=0.039).
There were no significant effects for any of the secondary outcome variables.
The results of this study show that ALCAR is better tolerated and more effective than amantadine for the treatment of MS-related fatigue.