Treatment of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has typically been focused on the management of associated conditions such as obesity, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia. NAFLD associated with obesity may resolve with weight reduction, although the benefits of weight loss have been inconsistent. Appropriate control of glucose and lipid levels is always recommended, but not always effective in reversing the liver condition. Results of pilot studies evaluating ursodeoxycholic acid, gemfibrozil, betaine, N-acetylcysteine, vitamin E (α-tocopherol), metformin and thiazolidinedione derivatives suggest that these medications may be of potential benefit for patients with NAFLD. These medications, however, need first to be tested in well-controlled trials with clinically relevant end-points and extended follow up. A better understanding of the pathogenesis and natural history of NAFLD will help to identify the subset of patients at risk of progressing to advanced liver disease, and hence, those patients who should derive the most benefit from medical therapy.
Key words. Steatohepatitis, Diabetes, Obesity, Steatosis, Ursodeoxycholic acid