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International Journal of Hepatology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 950693, 13 pages
Review Article

Multidisciplinary Pharmacotherapeutic Options for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Division of Clinical Nutrition, Department of Medical Dietetics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Josai University, 1-1 Keyakidai, Saitama, Sakado 350-0295, Japan

Received 23 July 2012; Accepted 13 November 2012

Academic Editor: Stephen D. H. Malnick

Copyright © 2012 Kei Nakajima. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are multidisciplinary liver diseases that often accompany type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, which are characterized by insulin resistance. Therefore, effective treatment of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome should target not only the cardiometabolic abnormalities, but also the associated liver disorders. In the last decade, it has been shown that metformin, thiazolidinediones, vitamin E, ezetimibe, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers, and antiobesity drugs may improve hepatic pathophysiological disorders as well as clinical parameters. Accordingly, insulin sensitizers, antioxidative agents, Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 (NPC1L1) inhibitors, RAS blockers, and drugs that target the central nervous system may represent candidate pharmacotherapies for NAFLD and possibly NASH. However, the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of long-term treatment (potentially for many years) with these drugs have not been fully established. Furthermore, clinical trials have not comprehensively examined the efficacy of lipid-lowering drugs (i.e., statins, fibrates, and NPC1L1 inhibitors) for the treatment of NAFLD. Although clinical evidence for RAS blockers and incretin-based agents (GLP-1 analogs and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors) is also lacking, these agents are promising in terms of their insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory effects without causing weight gain.