Background & Aim: Saroglitazar is a novel peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonist with dual agonistic properties (α/γ). Due to a strong mechanistic rationale, we aimed to test the safety and efficacy of saroglitazar in patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) who were either ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) resistant or intolerant. Methods: In this double-blind, phase II proof-of-concept trial, 37 patients with PBC were randomized to saroglitazar 4 mg (n = 13), saroglitazar 2 mg (n = 14), or placebo (n = 10) daily for 16 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was the reduction in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level at Week 16. Results: A significant reduction of mean ALP levels was observed at Week 16 relative to baseline in both the saroglitazar 4 mg (least-squares [LS] mean =-163.3 U/L, SE = 25.1, p <0.001) and 2 mg (LS mean =-155.8 U/L, SE = 24.4, p <0.001) groups, compared with placebo (LS mean =-21.1 U/L, SE = 28.9). Treatment with saroglitazar resulted in a rapid reduction of ALP concentration at Week 4 that was sustained through the study duration. At least 1 treatment-emergent adverse event occurred in 11 (84.6%) patients in the saroglitazar 4 mg group, in 12 (85.7%) patients in the 2 mg group and in 8 (80%) patients in the placebo group. Study drug was discontinued in 4 patients (3 patients in the 4 mg group and 1 patient in the 2 mg group) due to aminotransferase increases that promptly returned to baseline values after drug discontinuation. Conclusions: Saroglitazar at 2 mg and 4 mg daily was tolerated and resulted in rapid and sustained improvements in ALP. Further studies are underway at a daily dose of 2 mg and 1 mg due to the higher incidence of elevated liver enzymes observed with the 4 mg dose. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03112681 Lay summary: Saroglitazar resulted in a rapid and sustained improvement in alkaline phosphatase levels in patients with primary biliary cholangitis. The mean percentage reductions in alkaline phosphatase levels were 49% and 51% in the saroglitazar 4 mg and 2 mg groups compared to 3% in the placebo group.
- biochemical response
- Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor
- ursodeoxycholic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas