Antidiabetic Drugs and Statins in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most prevalent liver disease worldwide. Despite its high prevalence and rising incidence, there are currently no specific targeted pharmacotherapies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Current therapies for patients with NAFLD include lifestyle modification. Vitamin E and pioglitazone are recommended for those confirmed to have NASH. However, there are concerns about the long-term safety of both pioglitazone and vitamin E in higher doses. Metformin is essential for managing the abnormal metabolic parameters in patients with NAFLD. Glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue, sodium-dependent glucose cotransporter inhibitors, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists have shown benefits in improving metabolic parameters and reducing hepatic lipid accumulation and inflammation. However, the role of these antidiabetic agents in specifically reversing NASH needs to be established. Indeed, statins have been underprescribed in patients with NASH owing to fear of hepatotoxicity despite coronary artery disease being a common cause of death in patients with NAFLD. Statins reduce the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with NASH and dyslipidemia. However, their use specifically for treatment of NASH needs further evaluation. Optimizing the control of risk factors remains the main strategy for treatment until targeted pharmacotherapies for NASH are available.




Kothari, S., Dhami-Shah, H., & Shah, S. R. (2019, November 1). Antidiabetic Drugs and Statins in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hepatology. Elsevier B.V.

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