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Encouraging findings suggest new avenues for treating liver disease in overweight Americans
Date:10/18/2010

San Antonio, Texas, October 18, 2010 Estimates of the prevalence of liver disease suggest that one‐third of the United States population has non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is now the most common cause for elevated liver function tests in the United States, a trend related to the obesity epidemic in this country. Non‐alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the progressive form of NAFLD, can lead to cirrhosis and all its complications. Two studies presented at the 75th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology investigated the effectiveness of potential treatments for NASH, one assessing pentoxifylline, a well‐known drug with a well‐established safety profile that inhibits the release of TNFα among other mechanisms; as well as a separate analysis of pioglitazone, an insulin sensitizer, compared to vitamin E.

Pentoxifyline Improves Progressive Liver Disease NASH Compared to Placebo

Claudia O. Zein, M.D. and colleagues at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH conducted a double‐blinded, randomized, placebo‐controlled trial of pentoxifylline in patients with NASH to assess improvement in levels of transaminases and improvement in histological features of NASH as measured by the NAFLD activity score (NAS). The NAS score measures disease activity and is derived from the sum of separate scores for fat, inflammation, and ballooning in the liver.

The study, "Pentoxifyline Improves Non‐Alcoholic Steatohepatitis: Results of a Double‐Blinded, Randomized, Placebo‐Controlled Trial," found that after one year, an improvement of 30 percent or more in ALT levels from baseline was observed in a significantly higher proportion of subjects taking pentoxifylline compared to those on placebo (p=0.02). Additionally, a decrease of greater than 2 points in the NAS score was seen in half the pentoxifylline group
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Contact: Jacqueline Gaulin
jgaulin@acg.gi.org
202-255-5541
American College of Gastroenterology
Source:Eurekalert

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