- 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School.
- 2Division of Gastroenterology.
- 3Clinical and Translation Epidemiology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
- 4The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center/University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- 5Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital.
Goals: We sought to evaluate the association of steroids with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Background: Patients with IBD are at increased risk of NAFLD. Steroids may have a role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD.
Study: We searched MEDLINE (through PubMed) and Embase for studies from inception to July 2021. We included published interventional and observational studies of adults 18 years or older with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. We reported odds ratios, 95% confidence intervals, and generated forest plots. A random effects model generated a summary effect estimate. Publication bias was assessed by funnel plot and Egger's test. Study quality was examined using modified Newcastle-Ottawa scale (NOS) and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Results: A total of 12 observational studies with 3497 participants were included. NAFLD was identified in 1017 (29.1%) patients. The pooled odds ratio for the development of NAFLD in steroid users versus non-users was 0.87 (95% confidence interval: 0.72-1.04). There was no significant heterogeneity between studies (I²=0.00%, P=0.13). No publication bias was detected by funnel plot or Egger's test (P=0.24). Findings were consistent among subgroup analyses stratified by study quality.
Conclusion: In this meta-analysis, steroids were not associated with NAFLD in patients with IBD. Steroids may not need to be withheld from patients with IBD for the purposes of preventing NAFLD. Additional prospective studies that systematically document steroid exposure and important confounders among patients with IBD are warranted.