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Hepatol Res. 2017 Dec;47(13):1417-1428. doi: 10.1111/hepr.12887. Epub 2017 Apr 1.

Ezetimibe for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A meta-analysis.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Aichi Medical University, Nagakute, Japan.
Division of Biostatistics, Clinical Research Center, Aichi Medical University, Nagakute, Japan.



Several studies on the efficacy of ezetimibe, a potent inhibitor of cholesterol absorption, in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) have been published; however, the results are inconsistent. We undertook a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of ezetimibe in treating NAFLD and NASH.


PubMed, Medline, and Cochrane Library Full Text Database were searched until June 2016. The main inclusion criteria included original studies investigating the use of ezetimibe for the treatment of NAFLD and NASH. Identification of published work and data extraction were carried out by two reviewers based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. All analyses were carried out using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis version 3 software.


An initial search identified 103 peer-reviewed articles and abstracts. Six studies (two randomized controlled and four single-arm trials) involving 273 participants with NAFLD and NASH were identified. Ezetimibe significantly reduced serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase levels, and hepatic steatosis and hepatocyte ballooning. However, hepatic inflammation and fibrosis did not improve by ezetimibe treatment in patients with NAFLD and NASH. In randomized controlled trials, only hepatocyte ballooning improved with ezetimibe treatment.


Although ezetimibe attenuated serum liver enzymes and hepatic steatosis and ballooning in six studies, it improved only hepatocyte ballooning in randomized controlled trials. Larger studies and more randomized placebo-controlled trials are necessary to determine the effects of ezetimibe on NAFLD and NASH.


ezetimibe; fibrosis; inflammation; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis


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