Levocarnitine Injections Decrease the Need for Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents in Hemodialysis Patients with Renal Anemia

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Abstract

Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of levocarnitine injection for renal anemia in hemodialysis patients. Methods: In this randomized controlled clinical trial, we randomly assigned patients on maintenance hemodialysis at our hospital to receive levocarnitine injections (n = 30) or no injection (n = 30) and monitored the patients during 12 months of treatment. In the treatment group, patients received an injection of levocarnitine 1,000 mg 3 times weekly after hemodialysis sessions. All patients received recombinant human erythropoietin as an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA). Response to ESA therapy was determined by calculating the erythropoietin responsiveness index (ERI; ESA dose·kg-1·g-1· dL-1·week-1). Results: (1) The target levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit were maintained during the study period in both the levocarnitine group and the control group. (2) The dose of ESAs required to maintain these levels decreased gradually in the levocarnitine group and was significantly lower at 6 and 12 months than at study initiation. Furthermore, the dose of ESAs was significantly lower than that in the control group at 12 months. (3) The ERI showed a significant decrease at 6 and 12 months in the levocarnitine group, with a significant difference between the 2 groups at 12 months. Conclusion: Our results suggest that levocarnitine administration can reduce the dose of ESAs required in patients with renal anemia on hemodialysis and improve the response to ESA therapy.

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