Article: Statins decrease the risk of decompensation in HBV- and HCV-related cirrhosis: A population-based study—F M Chang
Source: Hepatology. 2017 Mar 20. doi: 10.1002/hep.29172. [Epub ahead of print]
Note: Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels to prevent heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. In the United States, approximately 73 million adults take statins. Statins are considered universally safe. There are, however, side effects such as muscle pain and weakness. Statins and have been linked to increases in diabetes although the numbers in one study was 50 to 100 cases per 10,000 patients.
Study Aims and Results
Studies have already found that statins decreased the risk of the progression to decompensated cirrhosis and death in Veterans with cirrhosis due to hepatitis C. The aim of the current study was to understand if statin use in people with cirrhosis due to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or alcohol related cirrhosis decreases the progression to decompensated cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death.
Patients with cirrhosis in the Taiwan National Health system were identified from 2000 through 2013. A total of 1,350 patients with cirrhosis were enrolled. Statin users and non-users were matched for patient characteristics.
Statin use was found to lower the risk of decompensation (P<.0001),liver cancer (p 0.0009) and death (p<.0001) due to chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C in a dose-dependent manner. The benefit of statin use for progression to decompensation, however, was found to be “borderline significance” for those who had alcohol-related cirrhosis.
Note: P-value (p-value) is defined as the probability of obtaining by chance a result (in this case) from a clinical trial. A p-value of p <0.05 is deemed as statistically significant. Another way to think about it is that p < 0.0001 means that there less than a one in a thousand chance the clinical trial results are wrong.
In regards the lower risk of decompensation, death and liver cancer, the benefits of statin use was significant for those with hepatitis B and C but only borderline for those with alcoholic cirrhosis.
As with any healthcare—educate yourself and work with your healthcare provider to make the best possible choice for your health.