Lipid-lowering agents in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis: Human studies

William Nseir, Julnar Mograbi, Murad Ghali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a chronic liver disease which refers to the presence of hepatic steatosis without significant intake of alcohol. NAFLD is an asymptomatic disease that can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is currently the most common cause of incidental abnormal liver tests and elevated serum liver enzyme activities in the developed world. Obesity, diabetes, and other components of the metabolic syndrome are frequently associated with the NAFLD. The treatment of NAFLD focuses on life-style modifications. Statins, fibrates, and other lipid-lowering agents have been proposed as effective lipid-lowering treatments in patients with NAFLD/NASH. However, clinicians are concerned that hyperlipidemic patients with NAFLD/NASH who are treated with statins could develop transaminitis. We assessed the efficacy and safety of lipid-lowering agents for NAFLD/NASH by reviewing reports of human studies including pilot, prospective, preliminary, and post hoc analysis studies on online databases during the period of 1980 to December 2012. The results of studies provide compelling evidence that lipid-lowering agents are safe and efficacious in patients with NAFLD/NASH and that some of these agents can induce a reduction in the extent of the hepatic steatosis. Well-designed randomized controlled studies of adequate size and duration with histological endpoints are needed in order to establish a suitable lipid-lowering treatment for hyperlipidemic patients with NAFLD/NASH, and for nonhyperlipidemic patients with NAFLD/NASH with a high risk for cardiovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1773-1781
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Fatty liver
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Lipid-lowering agents
  • Steatohepatitis


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