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Levocarnitine (L-Carnitine)

Supportive Care

Brand names:

Carnitor®, Carnitor SF®

Other names:

Levocarnitine, L-Carnitine

Often used for:

Low carnitine levels (carnitine deficiency)

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What is levocarnitine (L-carnitine)?

Levocarnitine (L-carnitine) is used to prevent low levels of carnitine in the body. Carnitine is a chemical made in the liver and kidneys and helps turn fat into energy.

Usually, the body can make all the carnitine it needs. But certain health conditions or medicines can cause low carnitine levels in the body (carnitine deficiency). Taking levocarnitine can help with problems caused by low carnitine, such as muscle weakness, heart problems, or liver problems.

Your child will have regular blood draws to measure carnitine levels in the blood.

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May be given into a vein by IV

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May be given as a tablet by mouth

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May be given as a liquid by mouth

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Possible side effects

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Body odor
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of the face, feet, or legs
  • Skin irritation
  • Changes in body weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in taste
  • Dark colored stools
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Cough or runny nose
  • Fever
  • Allergic reaction – Call your care team right away if your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction. These may include:
    • Rash, hives, or itching
    • Flu-like symptoms such as chills, aches, headache, or fever 
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath, coughing, or tightness in the throat  
    • Swelling of the face or neck

Not all patients who take levocarnitine will have these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Report any symptoms or side effects to your doctor or pharmacist. 

Find more information on side effects.

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Tips for patients and families

Be sure to discuss all questions and instructions with your health care provider or pharmacist. 

  • It is important to take the medicine version given to you by the pharmacy. Do not substitute over-the-counter versions of the medicine.
  • Certain medicines can interact with levocarnitine. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all medicines your child takes. Some patients may have a reaction to this medicine. Let your care team know about any symptoms while taking this medicine.
  • This medicine may cause diarrhea and upset stomach. Do not give more often or in greater amounts than recommended.
  • Your care team may prescribe medicine to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Your care team will let you know when tests will be performed to measure carnitine levels in the blood.
  • It is important that patients tell the care team if they are sexually active, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Levocarnitine at home

  • This medicine can be taken with or without food. Take with food if stomach upset occurs. Taking the medicine with meals may lessen stomach problems.
  • Tablets: Give this medicine as directed.
  • Liquid: Drink the medicine slowly. Use the measuring device that comes with the medicine. Liquid medicine can be added to beverages or liquid food.
  • In case of a missed dose, give the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling, storage, and disposal.