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Summary

Background

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) encompasses a wide spectrum of liver injury. Currently, there are no proven effective therapies available. Atorvastatin is a new 3-hydroxy-3-metylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor that reduces lipid serum levels.

Aim

To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of atorvastatin in dyslipemid, non-alcoholic fatty liver patients.

Patients and methods

We prospectively enrolled 25 patients with NAFLD; 22 of them completed the study. Body mass index, serum lipids, liver function tests and liver density assessed by echography were measured at baseline and after 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of treatment. Normalization of transaminases and/or improvement in liver density were treatment end points. Patients received atorvastatin (10–80 mg/daily) according to basal serum choleresterol levels; additionally, they were given standard weight-loss counselling and encouraged to follow a low fat diet.

Results

All 22 patients (14 men, mean age 47 ± 10 years) had high cholesterol levels at baseline and 11 (44%) also presented high trygliceride levels. After 6 months of treatment, eight patients (36.3%) presented normal transaminase levels. The remaining patients continued treatment for 12 months when 20% of patients presented with normal transaminase levels, while the other patients showed a 10% reduction in basal levels. Mean cholesterol levels were 268.5 ± 44.2 and 186.8 ± 14.4 mg/dL before and after treatment, respectively (P < 0.05). The mean body mass index was 27.4 ± 3.1 at baseline and 26.3 ± 2.8 kg/cm2 at the end of treatment (P > 0.05). No side effects were reported.

Conclusions

Serum aminotransferase and lipid levels were reduced significantly in all patients with atorvastatin treatment. Therapy with atorvastatin in NAFLD patients with hyperlipidemia was found to be both effective and safe.