Pharmacological and nutritional treatment for McArdle disease (Glycogen Storage Disease type V)

Rosaline Quinlivan, Andrea Martinuzzi, Benedikt Schoser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background McArdle disease (Glycogen Storage Disease type V) is caused by an absence of muscle phosphorylase leading to exercise intolerance,myoglobinuria rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure. This is an update of a review first published in 2004.Objectives To review systematically the evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of pharmacological or nutritional treatments for improving exercise performance and quality of life in McArdle disease.Search methods We searched the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group Specialized Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE on 11 August 2014.Selection criteria We included RCTs (including cross-over studies) and quasi-RCTs. We included unblinded open trials and individual patient studies in the discussion. Interventions included any pharmacological agent or nutritional supplement. Primary outcome measures included any objective assessment of exercise endurance (for example aerobic capacity (VO2) max, walking speed, muscle force or power and fatigability). Secondary outcome measures included metabolic changes (such as reduced plasma creatine kinase and a reduction in the frequency of myoglobinuria), subjective measures (including quality of life scores and indices of disability) and serious adverse events.Data collection and analysis Three review authors checked the titles and abstracts identified by the search and reviewed the manuscripts. Two review authors independently assessed the risk of bias of relevant studies, with comments from a third author. Two authors extracted data onto a specially designed form.Main results We identified 31 studies, and 13 fulfilled the criteria for inclusion. We described trials that were not eligible for the review in the Discussion. The included studies involved a total of 85 participants, but the number in each individual trial was small; the largest treatment trial included 19 participants and the smallest study included only one participant. There was no benefit with: D-ribose,glucagon, verapamil, vitamin B6, branched chain amino acids, dantrolene sodium, and high-dose creatine. Minimal subjective benefit was found with low dose creatine and ramipril only for patients with a polymorphism known as the D/Dangiotens in converting enzyme(ACE) phenotype. A carbohydrate-rich diet resulted in better exercise performance compared with a protein-rich diet. Two studies of oral sucrose given at different times and in different amounts before exercise showed an improvement in exercise performance. Four studies reported adverse effects. Oral ribose caused diarrhoea and symptoms suggestive of hypoglycaemia including light-headedness and hunger. In one study, branched chain amino acids caused a deterioration of functional outcomes. Dantrolene was reported to cause a number of adverse effects including tiredness, somnolence, dizziness and muscle weakness. Low dose creatine (60 mg/kg/day) did not cause side-effects but high-dose creatine (150 mg/kg/day) worsened the symptoms of myalgia.Authors' conclusions Although there was low quality evidence of improvement in some parameters with creatine, oral sucrose, ramipril and a carbohydrate rich diet, none was sufficiently strong to indicate significant clinical benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)CD003458
JournalThe Cochrane database of systematic reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Pharmacological and nutritional treatment for McArdle disease (Glycogen Storage Disease type V)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this