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Propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC) may improve exercise performance in patients with peripheral artery disease, but results from clinical trials have been inconsistent. The safety and efficacy of PLC for treatment of claudication was evaluated by a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials for which data were available through September 2010. Eighty-five studies were identified, of which 13 were randomized controlled trials. Owing to database availability for the six phase III studies carried out with PLC (1 g orally, twice daily), a patient-level meta-analysis was conducted as the primary analysis. Treadmill performance data from these six studies were harmonized to peak walking distance (PWD) on a 7% grade at a speed of 3 km/hour. PLC (n = 440) was associated with a net 16 meter improvement (95% CI, 8-20 meters) in PWD as compared with placebo (n = 427) in the primary analysis (p = 0.002). The effect of PLC was similar in subpopulations defined using clinical and demographic variables, with possible enhanced benefit in patients engaged in an exercise program or enrolled at study sites in Russia. The systematic review of the effect of PLCs on claudication identified seven additional randomized controlled trials for a total of 13 trials, which included 681 patients on placebo and 672 on PLC. This meta-analysis confirmed a 45 meter net improvement on PLC using a random-effects model. In conclusion, oral PLC is associated with a statistically significant increase in PWD in patients with claudication, which may be clinically relevant.


Eric P Brass, David Koster, William R Hiatt, Antonino Amato. A systematic review and meta-analysis of propionyl-L-carnitine effects on exercise performance in patients with claudication. Vascular medicine (London, England). 2013 Feb;18(1):3-12

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PMID: 23321261

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