What is L-CARNITINE?
(L-CARNITINE) This medication is a diet supplement used to prevent and treat low blood levels of carnitine. Carnitine is a substance made in the body from meat and dairy products. It helps the body use certain chemicals (long-chain fatty acids) for energy and to keep you in good health. Low blood levels of carnitine may occur in people whose bodies cannot properly use carnitine from their diets, people on dialysis due to serious kidney disease, and people being treated with certain drugs (e.g., valproic acid, zidovudine). Carnitine levels that are too low can cause liver, heart, and muscle problems. Carnitine comes in 2 forms, this medication (levocarnitine) and D-carnitine. An over-the-counter product called vitamin Bt contains a mixture of levocarnitine and D-carnitine. Vitamin Bt should not be used to treat serious carnitine deficiency since it can interfere with the body's use of levocarnitine. Do not use levocarnitine to treat serious carnitine deficiency unless prescribed by your doctor. The form of levocarnitine taken by mouth is not recommended for treating people on dialysis due to serious kidney disease. The injectable form should be used for this treatment. Consult your doctor for details. Some supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities/additives. Check with your pharmacist for more details about the brand you use. The FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
How should I use L-CARNITINE?
If you are taking the over-the-counter product, read all directions on the product package before taking this medication. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed. This medication is best taken with or just after meals to lessen stomach upset. If you are taking more than 1 dose a day, take the doses at evenly spaced times throughout the day (usually at least 3 to 4 hours apart). If you are taking the liquid form, use a medication-measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon. The liquid form may be taken alone or mixed in a drink or other liquid food. To prevent stomach upset, drink your dose slowly or mix the liquid form with more fluids or liquid food. Chewable forms of this medication should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than recommended by your doctor or the package instructions without your doctor's approval. Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take L-CARNITINE?
Before taking levocarnitine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as peanut/soy), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, seizures. Liquid preparations of this product may contain sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, or liver disease. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely. During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
What may interact with L-CARNITINE?
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
What if I miss a dose of L-CARNITINE?
If you are taking this medication on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
What side effects may I notice from receiving L-CARNITINE?
Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscle pain/weakness, swelling of hands/lower legs/feet, tingling skin, or body odor ("fishy" smell) may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, remember that your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Seek immediate medical attention if this rare but very serious side effect occurs: seizure. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Where should I keep L-CARNITINE?
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze liquid forms of this medication. Keep all medicines away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.