Review article: Drug therapy for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jan 15;23(2):207-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.02751.x.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease represents a spectrum of liver diseases, characterized mainly by macrovesicular steatosis in the absence of significant alcohol ingestion. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease includes both non-alcoholic fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis once considered a benign process is now known to lead to progressive fibrosis and cirrhosis. Histologically indistinguishable from alcoholic liver disease, the exact aetiology of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease remains unknown, but the fundamental pathophysiological process appears to be insulin resistance and oxidative stress related to the metabolic syndrome. Therapy has focused on risk factors, weight reduction and pharmacological intervention. Promising pharmacological treatments have been demonstrated with antioxidants, insulin sensitizers, hepatoprotectants and lipid-lowering agents. However, without larger randomized studies, no pharmacological treatments can be recommended at this time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Betaine / therapeutic use
  • Cholagogues and Choleretics / therapeutic use
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lipotropic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Pentoxifylline / therapeutic use
  • Probucol / therapeutic use
  • Thiazolidinediones / therapeutic use
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antioxidants
  • Cholagogues and Choleretics
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Lipotropic Agents
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Vitamin E
  • Betaine
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid
  • Metformin
  • Probucol
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Pentoxifylline