1 VAMC and George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States.
2 2nd Prop. Department of Internal Medicine, Hippocration Hospital, Medical School of Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), the most common liver disease, is characterized by accumulation of fat (>5% of the liver tissue), in the absence of alcohol abuse or other chronic liver diseases. Its prevalence is increasing because of obesity, metabolic syndrome or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). NAFLD can cause liver inflammation and progress to Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, cirrhosis or Hepatocellular Cancer (HCC). Nevertheless, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in NAFLD/NASH patients. Current guidelines suggest the use of pioglitazone both in patients with T2DM and in those without. The newer antidiabetic drugs such as Glucagon Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP-1 RA), Sodium-Glucose co- Transporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), and statins plus ezetimibe, are considered safe by the guidelines, and may have a beneficial effect on NAFLD/NASH as well as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. Future drugs seem to have a potential for holding down the evolution of NAFLD and reduce liver- and CVD-related morbidity and mortality, but they will take some years to be approved for routine use. Until then pioglitazone, GLP-1 RA, SGLT2i, and statins plus ezetimibe, especially in combination might be useful for treating the huge number of patients with NAFLD/NASH.