Create Account | Sign In: Author or Forum

 
 
News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Blogs  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter    
 

 Headlines:

 

Category: Pharmacy | Hepatology | Nutrition | News

Back to Health News

Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease

Last Updated: April 28, 2010.

 

But only effective in less than half of cases, study finds

Share |

Comments: (0)

Tell-a-Friend

 

  Related
 
But only effective in less than half of cases, study finds.

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new study has identified vitamin E as a treatment that can provide relief for many of the estimated 10 million Americans who have the most common chronic liver disease.

"This clearly shows that vitamin E is effective for treatment of patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis who don't have active diabetes," said study author Dr. Arun J. Sanyal, chairman of the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at Virginia Commonwealth University. A report on the trial is published in the April 28 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

A second drug tested in the trial, the diabetes medication pioglitazone (Actos), provided some relief but did not meet the benchmarks set in the study, Sanyal added.

The trial did not test the two treatments head-to-head. Instead, each was tested against a placebo, an inactive substance. Those treatments were chosen for the trial because older studies indicated that insulin resistance was an important aspect of the condition, which is less formally called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, while oxidative stress also plays an important role, Sanyal said. Actos reduces insulin resistance, while vitamin E is an antioxidant.

The study indicates that perhaps 43 percent of people with the condition who do not have diabetes will be helped by daily doses of vitamin E, Sanyal said. While some medications have shown promise in early tests, there is no drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The build-up of fatty deposits in the liver, which are caused by the condition, often creates only minor health problems. But the disease can progress to cirrhosis, and a life-threatening deterioration of liver function.

The 96-week study included 247 adults with the condition, none of whom had diabetes. Some patients were given 30 milligrams a day of Actos, some were given 800 International Units of vitamin E daily and others were given a placebo. A significant rate of improvement in markers of the disease, such as inflammation, was seen in 43 percent of those getting vitamin E, compared to 19 percent of those getting placebo. Similar improvement was seen in 34 percent of those getting Actos, compared to 19 percent of those getting placebo, a difference that was not statistically significant.

Actos might be a viable treatment for some people with fatty liver disease, but the study found its use was associated with significant weight gain that continued throughout the study, Sanyal said.

And vitamin E "should not be regarded as a panacea," he said. "It doesn't mean that everyone should start popping vitamin E."

Because of the high percentage of people who did not respond to vitamin E, that treatment should be done only under a doctor's supervision, with follow-ups to determine whether the treatment is working, Sanyal said.

And while no adverse side effects of the vitamin E regimen were seen, the small size of the study and its relatively short duration do not provide definitive evidence against such problems occurring, he said.

"Vitamin E will be a weapon in the arsenal that doctors have to treat patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis," said Patricia R. Robuck, a senior advisor at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "but there are important cautions to be observed."

The trial included only "a relatively healthy population with no diabetes and no cardiovascular disease," Robuck said. "For those people, it can be an important treatment. But should everyone start taking vitamin E? Absolutely not. It should be done under a doctor's care and with careful supervision."

More information

To learn more about fatty liver disease, visit the American Liver Foundation.

SOURCES: Arun J. Sanyal, M.D., chairman, division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.; Patricia R. Robuck, Ph.D., senior advisor, U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Md.; April 28, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine, online

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Previous: Even Moderate Drinking Puts Many Older Adults at Risk Next: Drug a New Treatment Option for Diabetic Eye Disease

Reader comments on this article are listed below. Review our comments policy.


Submit your opinion:

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)
 

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

 
     

 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

 

 

Useful Sites
MediLexicon
  Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us
Copyright © 2001-2014
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Advertising
Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME | Conferences

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.