August 27, 2016

L-Carnitine

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How does L-carnitine work?

L-carnitine helps the body produce energy. It is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes.

Are there safety concerns?

L-carnitine is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth and when used as an injection, with the approval of a healthcare provider. It can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, heartburn, diarrhea, and seizures. It can also cause the urine, breath, and sweat to have a "fishy" odor.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of using L-carnitine if you are pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Taking L-carnitine is POSSIBLY SAFEin breast-feeding women when taken by mouth in the amounts recommended. Small amounts of L-carnitine have been given to infants in breast milk and formula with no reported side effects. The effects of large amounts taken by a breast-feeding mother are unknown.

Children: L-carnitine is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately by mouth or intravenously (by IV), short-term.

Under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism): Taking L-carnitine might make symptoms of hypothyroidism worse.

Kidney failure: Using DL-carnitine has been reported to cause symptoms such as muscle weakness and eye drooping when administered intravenously (by IV) after dialysis. L-carnitine does not seem have this effect.

Seizures: L-carnitine seems to make seizures more likely in people who have had seizures before. If you have had a seizure, do not use L-carnitine.


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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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