Acetyl-l-carnitine for HAART-related peripheral neuropathy

In an article published in CNS Drugs (2007; 21 Suppl 1:25-30), Dr. Michael Youle of London’s Royal Free Centre for HIV Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, reviews evidence and finds support for use of the amino acid supplement acetyl-l-carnitine as a treatment for HAART-related peripheral neuropathy, and possibly as a preventive measure for those at risk of developing this condition.

Peripheral neuropathy, or pain and tingling in the arms, hands, feet and legs, is a condition that has been linked to certain antiretroviral medications, in particular Videx (didanosine) and Zerit (stavudine). (Peripheral neuropathy is also frequently diagnosed in diabetics.)

Dr. Youle’s article discusses evidence that acetyl-l-carnitine reduces pain measures and also promotes nerve regeneration in people with HAART-related peripheral neuropathy.  A dose of 1500mg twice daily was used in one of the primary studies, though there is some anecdotal evidence for effectiveness at a lower dose.

NYBC has followed studies of acetyl-l-carnitine for neuropathy for quite a while–see the entry from the NYBC Catalog at



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