Diabetes Drug Doesn’t Improve Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

| June 7, 2016

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), as its name suggests, involves a build-up of fat in the liver that isn’t due to over-indulgence in alcohol. At present, conventional medicine has no drugs that can successfully treat it. But since NAFLD affects around half of people with type 2 diabetes and one in three of the general population in the UK, whoever gets a drug approved for treating it is going to cash in, big time.

A few years ago, clinical trials in Japan claimed to show that the diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) could be an effective treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in people who also had type 2 diabetes. But these trials were not placebo-controlled, didn’t measure liver fat directly and were open to bias by researchers. Now, a new study carried out at the University of California, San Diego, has shown that in reality Januvia is no better than placebo at reducing levels of liver fat.

This latest trial, in addition to being placebo-controlled and avoiding any possibility of bias, used new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanning techniques to accurately measure both the amount of liver fat and the elasticity of liver tissues. The liver becomes less elastic as NAFLD progresses, a process called fibrosis. The results showed that Januvia did nothing to improve liver fat levels or liver fibrosis in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.1

I don’t want to sound uncaring, but I’m glad that Januvia failed to help these patients. Because Januvia and its fellow DPP-4 inhibitor drugs come with some pretty scary side effects. These include:

  • raising the risk of potentially deadly heart failure by 25 per cent  2,3
  • triggering the development of acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer
  • possibly fuelling the spread of colon and liver cancers to other parts of the body, as I mentioned recently here
  • causing acute renal failure (sometimes requiring dialysis)
  • provoking serious allergic and sensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic shock and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a life threatening skin condition
  • causing severe and disabling joint pain
  • increasing the risk of dangerously low blood sugar if used with other antidiabetic drugs or insulin

In fact, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is not an untreatable condition. There are several safe, natural ways of dealing with it that don’t involve dangerous drugs like Januvia, as I shall tell you in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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1. Cui J, Philo L, Nguyen P et al. Sitagliptin versus placebo in the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Hepatol. 2016 April 14 (Online ahead of print).

2. Udell JA, Cavender MA, Bhatt DL, Chatterjee S, Farkouh ME, Scirica BM. Glucose-lowering drugs or strategies and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with or at risk for type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2015 Mar 16 (Online ahead of print).

3. FDA: 2 Diabetes Drugs May Be Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Warning pertains to drugs containing saxagliptin or alogliptin, published online, nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_158144.html

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Category: Diabetes Drugs

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