Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

Laura Levy, DHSc, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this systematic review is to see how effective and safe is Acetyl-L-Carnitine in treating children with ADHD.

Study Design: This systematic review evaluated 3 randomized, controlled and double blind articles all published in English, which were published in peer-reviewed journals. The articles were found on PubMed through PCOM’s library website.

Outcomes measured: This review assessed how safe and effective ALC would be in treating children with ADHD. The outcomes were measured using the Parent and Teacher ADHD Scale IV, Conners’ Global Index-Parents Scale, Conners’ Global Index – Teachers Scale and the Vineland scores as well. These scales measure the behavior and attention of the child. This study also measured side effects such as psychic, neurologic, autonomic and other side effects to determine how safe this medication was.

Results: Based on all three studies conducted, it was determined that ALC combined with methylphenidate was ineffective in treating children with ADHD but it did prove to be safe and help to prevent side effects such irritability and headache. It was also determined that ALC alone without any other medications, was not effective and did not have a great impact on treating the behavior and attention of the children as well. The only significant finding showed that the children being treated with ALC alone were more prone to headaches compared to the group being treated with the placebo alone. However, ALC worked better in children with the inattentive type of ADHD compared to how it worked in children with the combined type of inattention and hyperactivity. ALC also worked very well to improve the symptoms of children with not only ADHD but also Fragile X Syndrome.

Conclusion: In the end, it was determined that combined with methylphenidate, ALC would not be considered an effective treatment to help improve the behavior of children with ADHD. ALC used alone without any other medication was also determined to be ineffective in treating the behavior symptoms of ADHD. It was found that ALC actually might be more beneficial for treatment for a certain type of ADHD, like the inattentive type. ALC was proven to also have great improvement in the inattention and social skills of children, not only with ADHD, but also with Fragile X Syndrome and more studies could be done to see how well this would work in children with Autism.