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22-06-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Creatine supplements do not benefit COPD patients receiving pulmonary rehabilitation


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis indicate that creatine supplementation does not improve pulmonary rehabilitation outcomes in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Writing in the journal Respirology, Fahad Al-Ghimlas (Al-Amiri Hospital, Safat, Kuwait) and David Todd (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) explain that previous studies have shown that creatine supplements help improve muscle strength in healthy individuals and in patients with neuromuscular disease and heart failure.

To investigate whether creatine supplementation enhances the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD patients, the researchers studied the literature for randomized placebo controlled trials published between 1966 and 2009 that evaluated the effect of creatine supplementation on exercise capacity, muscle strength, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in such patients.

In total, four studies involving 151 patients met criteria for inclusion in the final review.

Analysis of the pooled results revealed that creatine supplementation was not associated with any significant improvement in exercise capacity compared with placebo, at a standardized mean difference (SMD) of –0.01.

Creatine supplementation was also not associated with significant improvements in lower extremity muscle strength (SMD=0.03), or upper limb muscular strength (SMD=0.02) compared with placebo.

In two studies (n=48) that assessed QoL using the St George's Respiratory Disease Questionnaire, the team found no significant differences in HR-QoL between patients taking creatine supplements and those taking placebo.

Al-Ghimlas and Todd conclude: “Creatine supplementation when added to pulmonary rehabilitation does not improve exercise capacity, muscle strength or quality of life in patients with COPD.

“Based on the findings from this systematic review creatine supplementation cannot be recommended as an adjunct to pulmonary rehabilitation.”

However, they add that “limitations in the quality of the available studies suggest that further research is needed in this area.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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