Brief Article
Copyright ©2011 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Oct 21, 2011; 17(39): 4414-4420
Published online Oct 21, 2011. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i39.4414
L-carnitine supplementation improves hematological pattern in patients affected by HCV treated with Peg interferon-α 2b plus ribavirin
Michele Malaguarnera, Marco Vacante, Maria Giordano, Massimo Motta, Gaetano Bertino, Manuela Pennisi, Sergio Neri, Mariano Malaguarnera, Giovanni Li Volti, Fabio Galvano
Michele Malaguarnera, Giovanni Li Volti, Fabio Galvano, Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Catania, 95100 Catania, Italy
Marco Vacante, Maria Giordano, Gaetano Bertino, Sergio Neri, Mariano Malaguarnera, Department of Internal Medicine and Systemic Disease, University of Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
Massimo Motta, Manuela Pennisi, Research Center “The Great Senescence”, University of Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
Author contributions: Malaguarnera M, Vacante M and Galvano F contributed to the study design, data analysis, and the drafting of the manuscript; Motta M, Bertino G and Neri S contributed to enrollment of patients and data interpretation; Giordano M helped with statistical analysis; Malaguarnera M, Pennisi M and Volti GL helped with data interpretation and data analysis.
Supported by Ministero dell’Università e Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica
Correspondence to: Mariano Malaguarnera, AP, Department of Internal Medicine and Systemic Disease, Ospedale Cannizzaro, Viale Messina, 829-95125 Catania, Italy.
Telephone: +39-95-7262008 Fax: +39-95-7262011
Received: January 10, 2011
Revised: February 19, 2011
Accepted: February 26, 2011
Published online: October 21, 2011

AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of L-carnitine on alleviating anemia, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia, and minimizing dose reductions in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) in treatment with Interferon α (IFN-α) plus ribavirin.

METHODS: Sixty-nine patients with chronic hepatitis C were enrolled in the study and divided into two groups. group A (n = 35) received Peg-IFN-α 2b plus ribavirin plus L-carnitine, and group B (n = 34) received Peg-IFN-α and ribavirin for 12 mo. All patients underwent laboratory investigations including: red cell count, hemoglobin, white cell count, platelets, bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and viremia.

RESULTS: After 12 mo in group A compared to group B we observed significant differences in AST 108.8 vs 76.8 (IU/L; P < 0.001), ALT 137.9 vs 112.3 (IU/L; P < 0.001), viremia 4.04 vs 2.36 (× 106 copies/mL; P < 0.001), Hb 1 vs 3.5 (g/dL; P < 0.05), red blood cells 0.3 vs 1.1 (× 1012/L; P < 0.001), white blood cells 1.5 vs 3 (× 109/L; P < 0.001) and platelets 86 vs 85 (× 109/L; P < 0.001). The end treatment responders were 18 vs 12 (60% vs 44%) and the non responders were 12 vs 15 (40% vs 50%) [odds ratio (OR) 1.65, 95% CI = 0.65-5.37, P < 0.05]. In group A compared to group B there was a significant improvement of sustained virological response in 15 vs 7 patients (50% vs 25%), while the relapsers were 3 vs 5 (10% vs 18%) (OR 3.57, 95% CI = 0.65-19.3, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: L-carnitine supplementations modulate erythropoiesis, leucopoiesis and thrombocytopoiesis, and may be useful in patients treated for HCV. L-carnitine treatment offers the possibility of achieving a sustained virological response while preventing overtreatment.

Keywords: L-carnitine, Chronic hepatitis C, Anemia, Interferon