10 hypertriglyceridaemic haemodialysis patients were given dl-carnitine, 600 mg daily, for 8 weeks and then 1.2 g daily for 12 weeks. Serum total cholesterol, total triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and plasma free fatty acid (FFA), glucose, and immunoreactive insulin concentrations were measured at regular intervals during the treatment. Intravenous fat tolerance tests were performed in 9 patients. Plasma FFA concentrations fell and the post-heparin fractional clearance rate of Intralipid increased significantly after dl-carnitine administration. While overall no clear-cut effect of dl-carnitine on serum lipids was found, two patterns of response to dl-carnitine could be distinguished: the ‘paradoxic’ response with a rise in serum triglyceride concentrations and the dual response to two different dosages of dl-carnitine.