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F1000 Med Rep. 2009 Jun 29;1. pii: 50. doi: 10.3410/M1-50.

Is there an effective therapy available for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is defined as fat accumulation in the liver, ranging from simple steatosis to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Although it used to be considered a benign condition, nowadays it is known to be associated with liver injury and the development of end-stage liver disease. NAFLD is the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome (MS) with an incidence rising in accordance with the increased prevalence of MS, the latter being considered the most common cause of liver enzyme elevation in Western countries. To date, no medications or surgical procedures have been approved for effective treatment of NAFLD, and all of the therapies tested so far must still be regarded as experimental. It is expected that, based on the large amount of data produced in the last few years and the ongoing large multicenter clinical trials, the effective treatment(s) for NASH will soon be defined. Meanwhile, lifestyle interventions and behavior therapy, the only treatments shown to be effective, must be introduced in daily clinical practice and, if possible, supported by public health programs.

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