Background & aims: We investigated the effects of the fatty acid-bile acid conjugate 3β-arachidyl-amido, 7α-12α-dihydroxy, 5β-cholan-24-oic acid (Aramchol; Trima Israel Pharmaceutical Products Ltd, Maabarot, Israel) in a phase 2 trial of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Methods: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 60 patients with biopsy-confirmed NAFLD (6 with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) at 10 centers in Israel. Patients were given Aramchol (100 or 300 mg) or placebo once daily for 3 months (n = 20/group). The main end point was the difference between groups in the change in liver fat content according to magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The secondary end points focused on the differences between groups in alterations of liver enzyme levels, levels of adiponectin, homeostasis model assessment scores, and endothelial function.
Results: No serious or drug-related adverse events were observed in the 58 patients who completed the study. Over 3 months, liver fat content decreased by 12.57% ± 22.14% in patients given 300 mg/day Aramchol, but increased by 6.39% ± 36.27% in the placebo group (P = .02 for the difference between groups, adjusted for age, sex, and body mass index). Liver fat content decreased in the 100-mg Aramchol group, by 2.89% ± 28.22%, but this change was nonsignificant (P = .35), indicating a dose-response relationship (P for trend = .01). Groups given Aramchol had nonsignificant improvements over time in endothelial function and levels of alanine aminotransferase and adiponectin, but homeostasis model assessment scores did not change. The appropriateness of a single daily dose was confirmed by pharmacokinetic analysis.
Conclusions: Three months' administration of the fatty acid-bile acid conjugate Aramchol is safe, tolerable, and significantly reduces liver fat content in patients with NAFLD. The reduction in liver fat content occurred in a dose-dependent manner and was associated with a trend of metabolic improvements, indicating that Aramchol might be used for the treatment of fatty liver disease. ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT01094158.
Keywords: Cholic Acid; Clinical Trial; Lipid; NASH; Steatosis.
Copyright © 2014 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.