Metadoxine accelerates fatty liver recovery in alcoholic patients: results of a randomized double-blind, placebo-control trial. Spanish Group for the Study of Alcoholic Fatty Liver

J Hepatol. 1998 Jan;28(1):54-60. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(98)80202-x.


Background/aims: Our aim was to investigate the effectiveness of metadoxine (pyridoxol L, 2 pyrrolidone-5-carboxylate) in the treatment of alcoholic fatty liver.

Methods: A double-blind randomized multicenter trial involving 136 chronic active alcoholic patients diagnosed with fatty liver by clinical, biochemical and ultrasonographic criteria was performed. Patients were treated with 1500 mg/day of metadoxine (n = 69) or placebo (n = 67) for 3 months. Patients were clinically and biochemically evaluated every month. Ultrasonography was performed before and after treatment.

Results: At the end of the study there was a significant improvement in the liver function tests in both groups. However, the changes were more rapid and greater in patients treated with metadoxine, in whom significant changes in serum levels of bilirubin, aminotransferases and gammaglutamyl transpeptidase were already observed after 1 month of treatment, and normalization of these parameters was observed at the end. After treatment, the percentage of patients with ultrasonographic signs of steatosis was significantly lower in the metadoxine group (28% vs 70%, p < 0.01) and the degree of steatosis was also lower in this group. Sixteen patients treated with metadoxine and 15 with placebo continued drinking. Alcohol intake was lower than initially, and similar in both groups. In the metadoxine group, the biochemical changes were similar in both the abstinent and the nonabstinent patients. In contrast, in the placebo group the improvement in the liver function tests was significantly higher in abstinents. Among patients who continued drinking, the prevalence (45% vs 92%, p < 0.05) and the degree of steatosis were also significantly lower in patients treated with metadoxine.

Conclusions: In patients with alcoholic fatty liver, metadoxine accelerates the normalization of liver function tests and the ultrasonographic changes, even in those who do not completely abstain from alcohol intake. Thus, metadoxine could be useful in the treatment of the early stages of alcoholic liver disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / blood
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Pyridoxine / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Ultrasonography
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Drug Combinations
  • Placebos
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • metadoxine
  • Pyridoxine
  • Bilirubin
  • Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid