Purpose of review
Statins are a class of lipid lower medications used primarily in patients with high-risk cardiovascular disease. Since their development, statins have been considered to be harmful in patients with liver disease, and many of the prescribing information labels consider them to be contraindicated in patients with active liver disease. However, recent studies have shown the contrary, warranting further investigation and discussion. This review aims to describe the latest literature on the mechanism, safety profile and potential benefits of statins use on the natural history of chronic liver disease (CLD) progression and its complications.
A number of recently published studies have added to the existing body of literature supporting the concept that statins are safe and likely to be beneficial for treating patients with CLD. Patients with CLD including hepatitis B virus infection, hepatitis C virus infection, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcohol on statins have been shown to have a lower rate of decompensating events, lower incidence of hepatocellular cancer, a lower rate of infections, and increased survival. However, the majority of the available literature supporting statin use in patients with liver disease comes from retrospective observational studies with high potential for bias.
Statins appear to be safe in patients with compensated cirrhosis, and evidence suggests that they may reduce fibrosis, even in patients with advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis. Further high-quality research on this topic is needed to fully delineate the effect of statins in patients with liver disease.
Authors: Mohamad Kareem Marrache, Don C Rockey