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Drugs Today (Barc). 2011 Dec;47(12):915-22. doi: 10.1358/dot.2011.47.12.1688530.

Current therapies for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55901, USA.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease in adults and children in many regions of the world. Although a relatively benign condition in some, for others the disease will progress to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease with associated complications including hepatocellular cancer. Pharmaceutical therapies have had mixed results and none are accepted as standard therapy. Depending on the metric used to assess response (biochemical or histological), there are some therapies which may afford benefit. Others, however, have caused less than desirable adverse effects. Unfortunately, no particular treatment has emerged as safe and highly effective. The cornerstones of management of this problematic condition should include exercise and efforts at weight reduction through dietary changes and increased physical activity. Weight reduction does indeed seem to be beneficial in this setting, as evidenced by studies including those evaluating the effect of bariatric surgery. Less is known, however, about the effort of exercise in and of itself as a treatment strategy, even in the absence of a reduction in body weight. In this paper, we review the literature pertaining to the current state of NAFLD management with an emphasis on pharmacotherapy.

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