Statins Improve Decompensation in Patients With Viral Hepatitis

Statins also found to lower rates of decompensation in patients with liver cirrhosis related to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Statins may decrease decompensation rates in hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis, a new study suggests.

Although prior clinical data suggest that statin use may lower rates of decompensation in patients with liver cirrhosis related to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), HCV, or chronic HBV infection, these studies were conducted in specific populations or had small sample sizes.

In the current study published in Hepatology, investigators examined the efficacy of statins on cirrhosis decompensation, mortality, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) inpatients with liver cirrhosis caused by HBV, HCV, and alcohol use in a population-based analysis.

Patient data used in the study were obtained from a representative cohort of Taiwan National Health Insurance beneficiaries from 2000 to 2013. Of 15,931 patients with cirrhosis, 675 with statin use and 675 without statin use were included in the analysis.

The results showed that patients taking statins were less likely to experience decompensation rates compared with patients who did not use statins (14% versus 29%). They were also less likely to have HCC (6% versus 10%), and mortality (9% versus 18%).

The lowered risk of decompensation was of borderline significance among statin users with alcohol-related cirrhosis, according to the study.

“The benefit provided by statin use was mainly in decreasing the risk of ascites-related complications and hepatic encephalopathy,” the authors wrote. “Reduced risk of variceal bleeding could be observed in HBV- and alcohol-related cirrhotic patients.

Statins may be considered as an adjuvant therapy to prevent decompensation among cirrhotic patients. Future prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings.”