When to Initiate Weight Loss Medications in the NAFLD Population. Diseases (Basel, Switzerland) Yoo, E. R., Sallam, S., Perumpail, B. J., Iqbal, U., Shah, N. D., Kwong, W., Cholankeril, G., Kim, D., Ahmed, A. 2018; 6 (4)

Abstract

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by histological evidence of hepatic steatosis, lobular inflammation, ballooning degeneration and hepatic fibrosis in the absence of significant alcohol use and other known causes of chronic liver diseases. NAFLD is subdivided into nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NAFL is generally benign but can progress to NASH, which carries a higher risk of adverse outcomes including cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma and death if liver transplantation is not pursued in a timely fashion. Currently, lifestyle modifications including healthy diet and increased physical activity/exercise culminating in weight loss of 5% to >10% is the cornerstone of treatment intervention for patients with NAFLD. Patients with NAFLD who fail to obtain this goal despite the help of dietitians and regimented exercise programs are left in a purgatory state and remain at risk of developing NASH-related advance fibrosis. For such patients with NAFLD who are overweight and obese, healthcare providers should consider a trial of FDA-approved anti-obesity medications as adjunct therapy to provide further preventative and therapeutic options as an effort to reduce the risk of NAFLD-related disease progression.

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