The relationship between depression and alterations in circadian hormonal rhythms has received much attention in recent times. In particular abnormalities in cortisol rhythm can be viewed as an endocrine correlate of depression. Circadian rhythms are normalized under recovery. The objective of this study was to make an evaluation of clinical and biological effectiveness of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC). ALC has been investigated for treatment in cognitive deficits of elderly people. The efficacy of ALC in treating major depression has been reported in more recent ALC studies. In this double-blind study the antidepressant activity of ALC versus placebo was evaluated. We have selected 28 aged depressed subjects, meeting DSM III R criteria for Major Depression. Cortisol mean levels, cortisol rhythms and depressive symptoms have been evaluated in patients before and after ALC or placebo treatment. The results of the trial showed significantly higher clinical and biological efficacy for ALC as compared to placebo.

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