Therapeutic options in pediatric non alcoholic fatty liver disease: current status and future directions
1 Chair of Pediatrics, Medical School of the University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy, and ELFID, Naples, Italy
2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy
Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2012, 38:55 doi:10.1186/1824-7288-38-55Published: 17 October 2012
The epidemics of overweight and obesity has resulted in a significant increase of non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a potentially progressive condition. Currently, obesity related hepatopathy represents therefore the main cause of pediatric chronic liver disease. The first choice treatment at all ages is weight loss and/or lifestyle changes, however compliance is very poor and a pharmacological approach has become necessary. In the present article we present a systematic literature review focusing on established pediatric NALFD drugs (ursodeoxycholic acid, insulin sensitizers, and antioxidants) and on innovative therapeutic options as well.
Regarding the former ones, a pediatric pilot study highlighted that ursodeoxycholic acid is not efficient on transaminases levels and bright liver. Similarly, a recent large scale, multicenter randomized clinical trial (TONIC study) showed that also insulin sensitizers and antioxidant vitamin E have scarce effects on serum transaminase levels. Among a large series of novel therapeutic approaches acting on recently proposed different pathomechanisms, probiotics seem hitherto the most interesting and reasonable option for their safety and tolerability. Toll-like receptors modifiers, Pentoxifylline, and Farnesoid X receptors agonists have been still poorly investigated, and will need further studies before becoming possible promising innovative therapeutic strategies.