LEVOCARNITINE- levocarnitine injection
Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.


Rx only


Levocarnitine is a carrier molecule in the transport of long-chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membrane.

The chemical name of levocarnitine is (R)-(3-Carboxy-2-hydroxypropyl)trimethylammonium hydroxide, inner salt. Levocarnitine is a white crystalline, hygroscopic powder. It is readily soluble in water, hot alcohol, and insoluble in acetone. The specific rotation of levocarnitine is between -29º and -32º. Its chemical structure is:

structural formula

Molecular Formula: C7 H15 NO3 Molecular Weight: 161.20

Levocarnitine Injection, USP is a sterile aqueous solution containing 200 mg of levocarnitine per mL. The pH is adjusted to 6.0 to 6.5 with hydrochloric acid.


Levocarnitine is a naturally occurring substance required in mammalian energy metabolism. It has been shown to facilitate long-chain fatty acid entry into cellular mitochondria, thereby delivering substrate for oxidation and subsequent energy production. Fatty acids are utilized as an energy substrate in all tissues except the brain. In skeletal and cardiac muscle, fatty acids are the main substrate for energy production.

Primary systemic carnitine deficiency is characterized by low concentrations of levocarnitine in plasma, RBC, and/or tissues. It has not been possible to determine which symptoms are due to carnitine deficiency and which are due to an underlying organic acidemia, as symptoms of both abnormalities may be expected to improve with levocarnitine. The literature reports that carnitine can promote the excretion of excess organic or fatty acids in patients with defects in fatty acid metabolism and/or specific organic acidopathies that bioaccumulate acylCoA esters.1-6

Secondary carnitine deficiency can be a consequence of inborn errors of metabolism or iatrogenic factors such as hemodialysis. Levocarnitine may alleviate the metabolic abnormalities of patients with inborn errors that result in accumulation of toxic organic acids. Conditions for which this effect has been demonstrated are: glutaric aciduria II, methyl malonic aciduria, propionic acidemia, and medium chain fatty acylCoA dehydrogenase deficiency.7,8 Autointoxication occurs in these patients due to the accumulation of acylCoA compounds that disrupt intermediary metabolism. The subsequent hydrolysis of the acylCoA compound to its free acid results in acidosis which can be life-threatening. Levocarnitine clears the acylCoA compound by formation of acylcarnitine which is quickly excreted. Carnitine deficiency is defined biochemically as abnormally low plasma concentrations of free carnitine, less than 20 µmol/L at one week post term and may be associated with low tissue and/or urine concentrations. Further, this condition may be associated with a plasma concentration ratio of acylcarnitine/levocarnitine greater than 0.4 or abnormally elevated concentrations of acylcarnitine in the urine. In premature infants and newborns, secondary deficiency is defined as plasma levocarnitine concentrations below age-related normal concentrations.

End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients on maintenance hemodialysis may have low plasma carnitine concentrations and an increased ratio of acylcarnitine/carnitine because of reduced intake of meat and dairy products, reduced renal synthesis and dialytic losses. Certain clinical conditions common in hemodialysis patients such as malaise, muscle weakness, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmias may be related to abnormal carnitine metabolism.

Pharmacokinetic and clinical studies with Levocarnitine have shown that administration of levocarnitine to ESRD patients on hemodialysis results in increased plasma levocarnitine concentrations.


In a relative bioavailability study in 15 healthy adult male volunteers, Levocarnitine Tablets were found to be bio-equivalent to Levocarnitine Oral Solution. Following 4 days of dosing with 6 tablets of levocarnitine 330 mg b.i.d. or 2 g of levocarnitine oral solution b.i.d., the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax ) was about 80 µmol/L and the time to maximum plasma concentration (Tmax ) occurred at 3.3 hours.

The plasma concentration profiles of levocarnitine after a slow 3 minute intravenous bolus dose of 20 mg/kg of levocarnitine were described by a two-compartment model. Following a single i.v. administration, approximately 76% of the levocarnitine dose was excreted in urine during the 0 to 24h interval. Using plasma concentrations uncorrected for endogenous levocarnitine, the mean distribution half life was 0.585 hours and the mean apparent terminal elimination half life was 17.4 hours.

The absolute bioavailability of levocarnitine from the two oral formulations of levocarnitine, calculated after correction for circulating endogenous plasma concentrations of levocarnitine, was 15.1 ± 5.3% for Levocarnitine Tablets and 15.9 ± 4.9% for Levocarnitine Oral Solution.

Total body clearance of levocarnitine (Dose/AUC including endogenous baseline concentrations) was a mean of 4.00 L/h.

Levocarnitine was not bound to plasma protein or albumin when tested at any concentration or with any species including the human.9 In a 9-week study, 12 ESRD patients undergoing hemodialysis for at least 6 months received levocarnitine 20 mg/kg three times per week after dialysis. Prior to initiation of levocarnitine therapy, mean plasma levocarnitine concentrations were approximately 20 µmol/L pre-dialysis and 6 µmol/L post-dialysis. The table summarizes the pharmacokinetic data (mean ± SD µmol/L) after the first dose of Levocarnitine and after 8 weeks of levocarnitine therapy.



Single dose

8 weeks


1139 ± 240

1190 ± 270

Trough (pre-dialysis, pre-dose)

21.3 ± 7.7

68.4 ± 26.1

190 ± 55

After one week of levocarnitine therapy (3 doses), all patients had trough concentrations between 54 and 180 µmol/L (normal 40 to 50 µmol/L) and concentrations remained relatively stable or increased over the course of the study.

In a similar study in ESRD patients also receiving 20 mg/kg levocarnitine 3 times per week after hemodialysis, 12- and 24-week mean pre-dialysis (trough) levocarnitine concentrations were 189 (N=25) and 243 (N=23) µmol/L, respectively.

In a dose-ranging study in ESRD patients undergoing hemodialysis, patients received 10, 20, or 40 mg/kg levocarnitine 3 times per week following dialysis (N~30 for each dose group). Mean ± SD trough levocarnitine concentrations (µmol/L) by dose after 12 and 24 weeks of therapy are summarized in the table.

12 weeks

24 weeks

10 mg/kg

116 ± 69

148 ± 50

20 mg/kg

210 ± 58

240 ± 60

40 mg/kg

371 ± 111

456 ± 162

While the efficacy of levocarnitine to increase carnitine concentrations in patients with ESRD undergoing dialysis has been demonstrated, the effects of supplemental carnitine on the signs and symptoms of carnitine deficiency and on clinical outcomes in this population have not been determined.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

All MedLibrary.org resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.

This site is provided for educational and informational purposes only, in accordance with our Terms of Use, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner or other qualified health professional.

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2023. All Rights Reserved.