L-acetylcarnitine in depressed elderly subjects. A cross-over study vs placebo.
Tempesta E, Casella L, Pirrongelli C, Janiri L, Calvani M, Ancona L.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.
An open, cross-over study was performed on a population of 24 geriatric patients hospitalized because of depressive syndrome. They were subdivided, according to Hamilton's Scale as modified for the aged, into low- and high-score subgroups. The study period covered 2 months. Half the patients received acetylcarnitine for 1 month and placebo thereafter (Group A); the other half received placebo and acetyl-carnitine thereafter (Group B). Statistical evaluation was twofold: parametrical analysis of variance was carried out on 4 subgroups (A1, A2, B1 and B2) and analysis of the score percentage modifications before and after treatment was performed on Groups A and B. The experimental results showed that acetylcarnitine treatment was highly effective and statistically significant in subgroups A1/B1, A2/B2, A1, B1 and B2. In particular, it should be noted that depressive tendencies were significantly modified in most groups, whereas general somatic symptoms as well as anxiety, asthenia and sleep disturbances proved to be little affected. Clinical evaluation, carried out by calculation of modifications in pre- and post-treatment score percentages, provided clear evidence that acetylcarnitine was particularly effective in patients showing more serious clinical symptoms. The drug caused no side-effects at the doses and regimens used.