(HealthDay News) – L-carnitine significantly improves patient outcomes following heart attack, according to a review published online April 17 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, from Wegmans Pharmacy in Ithaca, NY, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 13 controlled trials (3,629 participants) that evaluated the effects of L-carnitine vs. placebo or control on mortality, ventricular arrhythmias (VAs), angina, heart failure, and reinfarction.

The researchers found that, compared to placebo or control, L-carnitine was associated with a significant 27% reduction in all-cause mortality (odds ratio, 0.73; risk ratio [RR], 0.78; P=0.05), a highly significant 65% reduction in VAs (RR, 0.35), and a significant 40% reduction in the development of angina (RR, 0.6). There was no reduction in the development of heart failure (RR, 0.85; P=0.21) or myocardial reinfarction (RR, 0.78; P=0.45).

“Further study with large randomized controlled trials of this inexpensive and safe therapy in the modern era is warranted,” the authors write.

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