L-Carnitine Side Effects
Generic Name: levocarnitine
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 19, 2020.
Note: This document contains side effect information about levocarnitine. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name L-Carnitine.
For the Consumer
Applies to levocarnitine: capsule, solution, tablet
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, levocarnitine (the active ingredient contained in L-Carnitine) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking levocarnitine:
- Fast heartbeat
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of levocarnitine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal discomfort
- body odor
- impaired vision
- loss of appetite or weight
- swelling in hands, lower legs, and feet
- tingling sensation
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to levocarnitine: injectable solution, oral capsule, oral solution, oral tablet
Very common (10% or more): Diarrhea (35%), abdominal pain (21%), vomiting (21%), nausea (12%)
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Abdominal cramps[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Headache (37%), dizziness (18%), paresthesia (12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hypertonia, vertigo, taste perversion
Frequency not reported: Seizures (with or without pre-existing seizure activity), increase in seizure frequency and/or severity[Ref]
There are reports from clinical trials of significant hypertriglyceridemia associated with high doses of levocarnitine (the active ingredient contained in L-Carnitine) (3 g/day) given to uremic dialysis patients.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Hypercalcemia (15%), hypervolemia (12%)
Very common (10% or more): Pain (35%), flu syndrome (29%), chest pain (15%), accidental injury (12%), asthenia (12%), fever (12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Peripheral edema, weight decrease, weight increase
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Body odor, International Normalized Ratio (INR) increased[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Injection site reaction (38%)[Ref]
Musculoskeletal side effects, in chronic hemodialysis patients, for levocarnitine (the active ingredient contained in L-Carnitine) in relation to placebo therapy have included asthenia (8% to 12% vs 8%) and leg cramps (4% to 8% vs 13%). Mild myasthenia has occurred in uremic patients receiving D,L-carnitine (but not levocarnitine).[Ref]
There have been reports from clinical trials of significant increases in platelet aggregation associated with high doses of levocarnitine (the active ingredient contained in L-Carnitine) (3 g/day) given to hemodialysis patients.[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Anemia (12%)[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Parathyroid disorder[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Bronchitis, sinusitis[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Amblyopia, eye disorder[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Hypertension (21%), hypotension (19%)
Common (1% to 10%): Allergic reaction[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Infection (24%)[Ref]
1. "Product Information. LevOCARNitine (levOCARNitine (levocarnitine))." Hi-Tech Pharmacal Company Inc, Amityville, NY.
2. "Product Information. Carnitor (levocarnitine)." Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Gaitherburg, MD.
3. "Product Information. Carnitor (levocarnitine)" Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals Inc, Gaithersburg, MD.
4. Golper TA, Wolfson M, Ahmad S, Hirschberg R, Kurtin P, Katz LA, Nicora R, Ashbrook D, Kopple JD "Multicenter trial of L-carnitine in maintenance hemodialysis patients. I. Carnitine concentrations and lipid effects." Kidney Int 38 (1990): 904-11
5. Weschler A, Aviram M, Levin M, Better OS, Brook JG "High dose of L-carnitine increases platelet aggregation and plasma triglyceride levels in uremic patients on hemodialysis." Nephron 38 (1984): 120-4
6. Bellinghieri G, Savica V, Barbera CM, Ricciardi B, Egitto M, Torre F, Valentini G, D'Iddio S, Bagiella E, Mallamace A, et al "L-carnitine and platelet aggregation in uremic patients subjected to hemodialysis." Nephron 55 (1990): 28-32
7. Lacour B, Di Giulio S, Chanard J, Ciancioni C, Haguet M, Lebkiri B, Basile C, Drueke T, Assan R, Funck-Brentano JL "Carnitine improves lipid anomalies in haemodialysis patients." Lancet 2 (1980): 763-4
More about L-Carnitine (levocarnitine)
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.