Background: We sought to determine the effect of statin therapy on serum AST and ALT levels in a cohort of HCV-infected veterans with well-characterized liver disease.
Study: We examined liver biopsy records of consecutive HCV-infected patients and identified 20 patients who were prescribed statins. We matched them on age, stage of fibrosis, and time between HCV diagnosis and statin start dates with up to four HCV-infected patients who did not use statins. ALT and AST values from up to four time points within 1 year of follow-up were abstracted from the medical record. We compared median ALT and AST levels using Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests and assessed changes in ALT and AST over time between the statin and non-statin groups using a non-parametric repeated measures ANOVA model, adjusting for the matching factors, receipt of HCV treatment, BMI, and diabetes.
Results: Patients prescribed statins had higher median BMIs, were more likely to have diabetes, and had higher total cholesterol levels. Median baseline ALT levels were higher among those prescribed statins (P = 0.04) while median baseline AST levels were lower among statin users (P = 0.03). From baseline to follow-up, the median decreases in both ALT (-13.5 vs. -4.0) and AST (-4.5 vs. -0.5) were significantly larger among statin users compared to non-statin users (P = 0.03 and P = 0.0007, respectively) even after adjustment.
Conclusions: Among HCV-infected patients AST and ALT levels for those prescribed statins decreased over a 6 to 12-month follow-up period compared to patients not taking statins.