Food and Behaviour Research

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Efficacy of carnitine in the treatment of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Van Oudheusden LJ, Scholte HR. (2002) Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 67(1) 33-8. 

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To determine safety and the efficacy of carnitine treatment in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The ADHD behavior was observed by parents completing the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and by teachers completing the Conners teacher-rating score, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled double-crossover trial.

In 13/24 boys receiving carnitine, home behavior improved as assessed with the CBCL total score (P < 0.02). In 13/24 boys, school behavior improved as assessed with the Conners teacher-rating score (P < 0.05).

Before treatment, the CBCL total and sub-scores were significantly different from those of normal Dutch boys (P < 0.0001). Responders showed a significant improvement of the CBCL total scores compared to baseline (P < 0.0001). In the majority of boys no side effects were seen.

At baseline and after carnitine treatment, responders showed higher levels of plasma-free carnitine (P < 0.03) and acetylcarnitine (P < 0.05). Compared to baseline, the carnitine treatment caused in the responsive patients a decrease of 20-65% (8-48 points) as assessed by the CBCL total problem rating scale.

Treatment with carnitine significantly decreased the attention problems and aggressive behavior in boys with ADHD. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.