Fibromyalgia Acteyl-L Carnitine About as Effective as Antidepressants in Fibromyalgia


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Interesting study finds that mitchondrial booster acetyl-Lcarnitine is as effective as the antidepressant Cymbalta (approved by the FDA for FM) in reducing pain, battling depression and overall health. (Despite that claim the authors said Cymbalta was better at the "psychological component". )
Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2015 Mar-Apr;33(1 Suppl 88):82-5. Epub 2015 Mar 18. A randomised controlled trial comparing duloxetine and acetyl L-carnitine in fibromyalgic patients: preliminary data.
Leombruni P1, Miniotti M1, Colonna F1, Sica C1, Castelli L2, Bruzzone M3, Parisi S3, Fusaro E3, Sarzi-Puttini P4, Atzeni F5, Torta RG1.

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic disorder characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, troubled sleep, disturbed mood, and fatigue. Recently published reviews have demonstrated that it is influenced by various psychological aspects, and antidepressants are now considered the treatment of choice for most patients. The aim of this randomised controlled trial was to compare the effects of duloxetine and acetyl L-carnitine on pain, depression, anxiety and well-being in FMS patients.

Sixty-five female outpatients with FMS diagnosed by a rheumatologist were recruited between January 2011 and May 2012, and randomised to receive duloxetine 60 mg/day or acetyl L-carnitine 1500 mg/day (500 mg t.i.d.). Drug efficacy and side effects were assessed by the same psychiatrist at baseline, and four and 12 weeks later.

Both drugs led to a general clinical improvement, with positive effects on pain and depressive symptoms; but neither induced a significant improvement in anxiety. Both drugs had a positive effect on the physical component of the quality of life, but only duloxetine improved the psychological component.

Although they need to be confirmed by further studies, these preliminary findings confirm the efficacy of duloxetine, and suggest that acetyl L-carnitine is also efficacious in improving depressive symptoms, pain, and the quality of life of FMS patients.


Well-Known Member
I will have to try it. Duloxetine has proved a godsend for me -- almost entirely eliminating my worst burning pain (but it does nothing for my energy, and I perceive no particular psychological effects). Since it's a chore to wean oneself from duloxetine, I wonder if I'd learn anything from just adding carnitine into the mix. I'm not too hopeful though, as CoQ10 did nothing for my energy.

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