Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Victoza has shown potential as a treatment for fatty liver disease, which affects roughly 20 to 30 per cent of people in the UK.
Victoza, also known as liraglutide, is designed to improve blood glucose levels of adults with type 2 diabetes. It is also marketed as Saxenda to reduce obesity.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham demonstrated that liraglutide resolved fatty liver disease in over a third of patients, with Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest insulin maker, encouraged by the results.
Chief Science Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said: “There was indeed some interesting data from the UK that we are looking into more. It was a very small patient group but I believe it is fair to say that we have been discussing this in management.”
Relationship with diabetes
Fatty liver disease is linked with being overweight or obese. Without treatment, advanced damage can result in scarring known as fibrosis and cirrhosis. This can lead to the destruction of liver functionality and even cancer.
People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing fatty liver disease, which causes increased fat uptake into the liver cells. Additionally, people with fatty liver disease have a larger chance of developing type 2 diabetes. There is no increased risk for people with type 1 diabetes.
Good control of blood glucose levels is believed to assist people with diabetes and prevent fatty liver disease from getting worse.
Treatment for fatty liver disease is a competitive market as no treatment has yet been approved. To prevent fatty liver disease, health guidelines have advocated stopping unhealthy lifestyles and quelling the rising tide of obesity.

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