- 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
- 2Department of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
- 3Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Purpose: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a highly prevalent chronic liver disease that is driven by the metabolic syndrome. NAFLD encompasses nonalcoholic fatty liver, >5% fat in the liver without inflammation of fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fat plus varying degrees of inflammation and fibrosis, and cirrhosis of the liver from NASH. As facets of the metabolic syndrome, particularly diabetes and obesity, become more common worldwide, the incidence of new NAFLD is increasing.
Methods: A qualitative systematic review was performed via searches of PubMed and ClinicalTrials.gov for therapeutic interventions for NAFLD.
Findings: Current therapies rely on metabolic syndrome risk factor control and lifestyle changes to achieve weight loss. Because sustained weight loss is difficult for many patients, there is a critical unmet need for pharmacotherapy to treat NAFLD, especially the progressive form, NASH, to prevent cirrhosis of the liver. New therapies for NAFLD focus on the subset of patients with NASH and some degree of fibrosis. Novel mechanisms of action, including farnesoid X nuclear receptor agonism, C-C motif chemokine receptor 2 and receptor 5 antagonism, stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1, and thyroid hormone receptor β agonism, are currently under investigation as monotherapy. The products also hold potential for use in combination with and without insulin sensitizers and other established drugs in the future.
Implications: This review of NASH treatments details the interventions that are currently available as well as those in late-stage clinical trials that may represent the future of NASH therapy.