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Abdominal Fat Reducing Drug In HIV Patients Also Cuts Fat In Liver

Update Date: Jul 21, 2014 08:10 AM EDT

Regular treatment with tesamorelin for six months lowers liver fat, a new research has found. The drug is also the only one to receive FDA approval for reduction of the abdominal fat deposits that develop in some patients receiving antiviral therapy for HIV infections.

"Tesamorelin's ability to reduce liver fat in conjunction with the reduction of abdominal fat may be clinically important for patients with HIV infection who have fatty liver disease along with increased abdominal fat," said Steven Grinspoon, MD, of the MGH Neuroendocrine Unit and Program in Nutrition Metabolism, the study's senior author, in the press release. "While some patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease have a benign course, others may develop a more serious condition involving liver inflammation, cellular damage and fibrosis, which can progress to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease or to liver cancer."

Around 40 percent of HIV-infected patients develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which is usually in conjunction with lipodystrophy. Tesamorelin stimulates the body's release of growth hormone, which is reduced by HIV lipodystrophy.

"Now we need to investigate the effects of tesamorelin in patients with the severe form of liver inflammation called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which can cause significant damage to liver cells, and examine whether reduced liver fat has other metabolic benefits," Grinspoon added. "Tesamorelin also may be an effective treatment for non-HIV-infected patients with NAFLD, and that needs to be studied as well."

The findings of the study will be published in the July 23/28 issue of JAMA.

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