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Reuters Health Information (2008-11-04): Pioglitazone improves fatty liver disease in nondiabetics


Pioglitazone improves fatty liver disease in nondiabetics

Last Updated: 2008-11-04 17:43:25 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treatment with pioglitazone leads to a number of beneficial changes in nondiabetics with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), UK researchers report in the October issue of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Guruprasad P. Aithal of University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, and colleagues note that a recent study showed a reduction in hepatic fat and inflammation in diabetic NASH patients treated with the agent, and they sought to determine whether this might also be true in those without diabetes.

For their study, they randomized 74 such patients to standard diet and exercise and 30 mg per day of pioglitazone or placebo.

At 1 year, active treatment patients showed a mean weight gain of 2.77 kg compared to a loss of 0.55 kg in the placebo group. They also showed a significant drop in glucose, A1C, insulin C peptide, and alanine aminotransferase levels.

There were also beneficial changes in other markers and, in those evaluated, a significant reduction in hepatocellular injury and in fibrosis.

In light of these findings, the researchers conclude, "Larger extended trials are justified to assess the long-term efficacy of pioglitazone in this patient group."

Gastroenterology 2008;135:1176-1184.

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