Lifestyle changes are the primary treatment for fatty liver disease. However, medications including insulin sensitizers and lipid-lowering drugs can help to treat the disease.
There are two main types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As these names suggest, the disease can develop in people who consume alcohol and in people who do not.
Diagnosis and treatment at early stages may help reverse some liver damage and inflammation.
This article discusses fatty liver disease in more detail, including medications and current treatment options.
The liver is an essential organ of the body that
- producing bile
- metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
- storing nutrients
- filtering blood
Fatty liver disease is a condition that leads to excessive storage of fat in the liver. The two types of this disease are NAFLD and alcoholic fatty liver disease.
NAFLD is the most common cause of liver disease in the United States, affecting
Alcoholic fatty liver disease
Fatty liver disease often does not present symptoms. However, a few possible symptoms of NASH are:
- abdominal pain and discomfort
- unexplained weight loss
Serious cases of fatty liver disease can cause fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to liver failure.
Learn more about the differences among NAFL, NAFLD, and NASH.
Lifestyle changes, including the pursuit of weight loss, are the main treatment approach doctors recommend for NAFLD. However, the following medications may also be effective against fatty liver disease:
Insulin resistance plays an important role in the development and progression of NAFLD. The results of
However, doctors do not typically recommend TZDs for treating NASH because of the possible side effects, which include:
- increased risk of heart attack
- weight gain
- decreased bone density
Lipid-lowering drugs help inhibit the production of cholesterol.
Angiotensin receptor blockers
Several clinical trials have suggested that angiotensin II type 1 blockers
However, these blockers may have blood pressure-lowering effects that limit their use, and doctors do not typically recommend using these medications for fatty liver disease.
Corticosteroids may be
Current treatment options for fatty liver disease include:
Doctors generally recommend certain lifestyle changes that can help treat and prevent fatty liver disease, including:
- abstaining from alcohol
- eating a healthy diet
- attempting to lose weight
- exercising regularly
Bariatric surgery may help improve NAFLD in people with obesity.
An older 2014 meta-analysis indicated that surgery could lead to an
Liver transplantation is the only option for people with liver failure. The process is complex and depends on the availability of donors.
A liver transplant is usually the last resort. People must abstain from alcohol
Below are some of the most common questions and answers about fatty liver disease.
Can fatty liver be cured permanently?
Early diagnosis and treatment can help reverse fatty liver disease. When a doctor diagnoses fatty liver in the early stages, a person may be able to reverse the condition by losing weight or avoiding intake of alcohol.
What medications help with fatty liver?
No medications are currently approved for the treatment of fatty liver disease.
What is the main cause of fatty liver?
Fatty liver disease has two types: alcoholic fatty liver disease and NAFLD. The main cause of alcoholic fatty liver is excessive alcohol consumption, and the main cause of NAFLD is obesity.
Fatty liver disease is a condition that leads to fat buildup in the liver. The two most common risk factors for fatty liver disease are obesity and excessive alcohol intake.
Serious cases of fatty liver disease can cause fibrosis and cirrhosis, which can ultimately lead to liver damage and liver failure.
Currently, doctors recommend diet and lifestyle changes, including the pursuit of weight loss, to help manage fatty liver disease in the early stages. They may recommend surgery or liver transplantation for people with serious liver damage or liver failure.