Acetyl-L-Carnitine Effective in Addressing Opiate Withdrawal

Published: August 12, 2012

Although most pain can be effectively addressed without narcotics (opiates), most physicians are simply not trained in pain management and will (often from compassion) use these as they are not aware of alternatives (see my book Pain Free 1-2-3 for how to eliminate pain without narcotics). Weaning off narcotics can be hard, but natural supplements, like Acetyl-L-Carnitine, decrease withdrawal symptoms significantly.

In this two-part placebo controlled study, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC) was found to be effective at reducing symptoms of opiate withdrawal in both humans and mice. In the human study, 30 subjects with methadone dependence took 2,000 mg a day ALC for a 3-week detoxification period, or a placebo. Subjects who received ALC were found to have significantly lower total scores on the Average Short Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome scale the first 5 days of therapy, and significantly lower pain scores after 1 week of therapy through study end, including reduction of symptoms such as muscular tension, cramps, and insomnia, compared to those receiving placebo. The authors conclude, "Considering its tolerability, the excellent side effect profile, the absence of significant interactions, and the lack of abuse potential, ALC can be considered as a useful pharmacological adjunct in the treatment of opiate withdrawal."


"Acetyl-l-Carnitine in the Management of Pain During Methadone Withdrawal Syndrome," Janiri L, Martinotti G, et al, Clin Neuropharmacol, 2008 Oct 23; [Epub ahead of print].

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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