Diabetes treatment effective in liver disease
Almost two fifths of patients given liraglutide had resolution of the common liver disease called NASH.
Source: Nephron / Wikimedia Commons
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the most common cause of liver disease and is associated with a significant risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, there is currently no licensed treatment.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have found that the glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue liraglutide – a treatment for type 2 diabetes – is also effective in NASH. All 23 patients who received liraglutide injections for 48 weeks underwent liver biopsy; nine (39%) of these patients had histological resolution of NASH compared with two (9%) of 22 patients who received placebo (P=0.019).
The researchers, who report their findings in the The Lancet (online, 18 November 2015), note that improvements in glycaemic control and weight in the group taking liraglutide suggest the drug could also improve cardiovascular outcomes.
The researchers conclude that extensive, long-term studies of liraglutide for NASH are warranted.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20200181
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