Fenofibrate Mitigates Hypertriglyceridemia in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Patients Treated With Cilofexor/Firsocostat

Eric J. Lawitz, Bal Raj Bhandari, Peter J. Ruane, Anita Kohli, Eliza Harting, Dora Ding, Jen Chieh Chuang, Ryan S. Huss, Chuhan Chung, Robert P. Myers, Rohit Loomba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Patients with advanced fibrosis due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are at high risk of morbidity and mortality. We previously found that a combination of the farnesoid X receptor agonist cilofexor (CILO) and the acetyl-CoA carboxylase inhibitor firsocostat (FIR) improved liver histology and biomarkers in NASH with advanced fibrosis but was associated with hypertriglyceridemia. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of icosapent ethyl (Vascepa) and fenofibrate to mitigate triglyceride elevations in patients with NASH treated with CILO and FIR. Methods: Patients with NASH with elevated triglycerides (≥150 and <500 mg/dL) were randomized to Vascepa 2 g twice daily (n = 33) or fenofibrate 145 mg daily (n = 33) for 2 weeks, followed by the addition of CILO 30 mg and FIR 20 mg daily for 6 weeks. Safety, lipids, and liver biochemistry were monitored. Results: All treatments were well-tolerated; most treatment-emergent adverse events were Grade 1 to 2 severity, and there were no discontinuations due to adverse events. At baseline, median (interquartile range [IQR]) triglycerides were similar in the Vascepa and fenofibrate groups (median, 177 [IQR, 154–205] vs 190 [IQR, 144–258] mg/dL, respectively). Median changes from baseline in triglycerides for Vascepa vs fenofibrate after 2 weeks of pretreatment were −12 mg/dL (IQR, −33 to 7 mg/dL; P = .09) vs −32 mg/dL (IQR, −76 to 6 mg/dL; P = .012) and at 6 weeks were +41 mg/dL (IQR, 16–103 mg/dL; P < .001) vs −2 mg/dL (IQR, −42 to 54 mg/dL; P = .92). In patients with baseline triglycerides <250 mg/dL, fenofibrate was more effective vs Vascepa in mitigating triglyceride increases after 6 weeks of combination treatment (+6 vs +39 mg/dL); similar trends were observed in patients with baseline triglycerides ≥250 mg/d (−61 vs +99 mg/dL). Conclusions: In patients with NASH with hypertriglyceridemia treated with CILO and FIR, fenofibrate was safe and effectively mitigated increases in triglycerides associated with acetyl-CoA carboxylase inhibition. ClinicalTrials.gov, Number: NCT02781584.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152.e3
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-α
  • Very Low Density Lipoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology


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