Stavudine is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. It is in a class of drugs known as antivirals.
Severe peripheral neuropathy (painful sensations due to nerve damage in the hands and feet) often develops in people taking stavudine or other drugs in its class. People with peripheral neuropathy who were taking one of these drugs were found to be deficient in acetyl-L-carnitine.2 In a preliminary trial, supplementing with 1,500 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine twice a day resulted in improvement in the neuropathy after six months in people taking stavudine or related drugs.3 Similar benefits were seen in another study that used the same amount of acetyl-L-carnitine.4
1. Schramm C, Wanitschke R, Galle PR. Thiamin for the treatment of nucleoside analogue-induced severe lactic acidosis. Eur J Anaesthesiol 1999;16:733–5.
2. Famularo G, Moretti S, Marcellini S, et al. Acetyl-carnitine deficiency in AIDS patients with neurotoxicity on treatment with antiretroviral nucleoside analogues. AIDS 1997;11:185–90.
3. Hart AM, Wilson ADH, Montovani C, et al. Acetyl-l-carnitine: a pathogenesis based treatment for HIV-associated antiretroviral toxic neuropathy. AIDS 2004;18:1549–60.
4. Herzmann C, Johnson MA, Youle M. Long-term effect of acetyl-L-carnitine for antiretroviral toxic neuropathy. HIV Clin Trials 2005;6:344–50.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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