Statins may provide favorable outcomes to patients with HBV- or HCV-related cirrhosis

Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to cirrhosis as well as liver cancer. A Hepatology study from Taiwan has found that statins may provide benefits to patients with HBV- or HCV-related cirrhosis.

When the liver fails to compensate for the functional overload resulting from disease, a situation called decompensation occurs. Decompensation significantly lowers the survival rate among patients with cirrhosis, and very few effective drugs are available. This latest study assessed information on 1350 cirrhotic patients identified from a representative group of Taiwan National Health Insurance beneficiaries from 2000 to 2013. Statin use was linked with a decreased the risk of decompensation in a dose-dependent manner.

"The study demonstrates a favorable outcome that should be re-confirmed by future prospective and large-scaled studies," said senior author Dr. Ching-Liang Lu. "Moreover, future investigations should also explore whether the favorable effect of statin use can also be extended to cirrhosis due to other causes, such as alcohol."


  1. George Henderson George Henderson New Zealand says:

    The authors do not appear to have controlled for indication bias.
    Indication bias occurs when the condition for which the patients were treated is related to the outcome of interest.
    Statins are normally prescribed on the basis of elevated (i.e. above a defined "target") LDL cholesterol counts, not cirrhosis per se.
    It is necessary to control for the LDL level at the time of prescribing statins to affirm that the benefits observed may be directly due to statins, because it is likely that this indication for prescribing statins predicts a significantly improved prognosis in liver disease even without the statin, one which may have been either abrogated by or enhanced by the statin. While we note that patients on statins prior to a diagnosis of cirrhosis were excluded from this study, the criteria for prescribing statins were not described; as many patients with cirrhosis were not prescribed statins, we cannot preclude the LDL cholesterol level being one of the criteria.


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