A new drug shows promise for treating people with type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
NAFLD is a very common condition and one in three adults in the UK has it. People with fatty liver disease are at high risk of type 2 diabetes and so many people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will have NAFLD already.
The drug ipragliflozin (trade name Suglat) is yet to be approved for use in the US or Europe and is currently undergoing testing. Ipragliflozin is a drug in the sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors class of type 2 diabetes medications.
In this trial, ipragliflozin was tested against a commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes drug, pioglitazone (sold as Actos).
The main aim of the study was to test the effects of ipragliflozin in lowering the liver-to-spleen attenuation ratio (L/S ratio) at 24 weeks compared to pioglitazone. The L/S ratio is a way of measuring the severity of NAFLD.
The trial involved 66 participants diagnosed with both type 2 diabetes and NAFLD. The participants were randomly assigned to receive once daily doses of either 50mg of ipragliflozin or 15-30mg of pioglitazone.
The results showed that both drugs had nearly identical effects on the L/S ratio. The drugs also showed similar effects to each other in reducing HbA1c levels. However, the new drug, ipragliflozi, performed better at reducing body weight and abdominal body fat (belly fat).
Researchers are looking for a drug that can treat NAFLD. Whilst this trial showed that ipragliflozin was as good as pioglitazone, it is possible that a longer duration of trial, say for a year, might show that ipragliflozin is stronger than pioglitazone. This could be the case as ipragliflozin showed it was better at reducing body weight.
The study is published online ahead of print by the Diabetes Care journal.
Currently, there is an effective way to improve NAFLD and that’s with a low-carb diet. GP, Dr David Unwin, has shown that low-carb is effective for improving signs of fatty liver disease.
If you’re interested in following a similar approach as Dr Unwin, join our Low Carb Program which gives easy step-by-step guidance to following a healthy, low-carb lifestyle.

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