Statin therapy improves sustained virologic response among diabetic patients with chronic hepatitis C

Gastroenterology. 2011 Jan;140(1):144-52. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.08.055. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Background & aims: Patients with chronic hepatitis C infection are 2- to 3-fold more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which reduces their chances of achieving a sustained virologic response (SVR). To identify differences in predictors of SVR in patients with and without diabetes who received combination antiviral therapy, we conducted a retrospective analysis of a national Veterans Affairs administrative database.

Methods: We analyzed data from the Veterans Affairs Medical SAS Datasets and Decision Support System for entire cohort and separately for diabetic patients (n = 1704) and nondiabetic patients (n = 6589). Significant predictors of SVR were identified by logistic regression analysis.

Results: Diabetic patients had a lower SVR compared with nondiabetic patients (21% vs 27%, respectively, P < .001). Diabetic patients had higher clustering of previously established negative predictors of SVR. On multivariate analysis of diabetic patients for SVR, the positive predictors were higher low-density lipoprotein (odds ratio [OR], 1.45; P = .0129), use of statin (OR, 1.52; P = .0124), and lower baseline viral load (OR, 2.31; P < .001), whereas insulin therapy (OR, 0.7; P = .0278) was a negative predictor. Diabetic patients on statins had higher pretreatment viral loads (log 6.2 vs 6.4, respectively, P = .006) but better early virologic response. There was a graded inverse relationship between Hemoglobin A1c and SVR rate (P = .0482). This relationship was significant among insulin users (P = .0154) and non-significant among metformin users (P = .5853).

Conclusions: Statin use was associated with an improved SVR among both diabetic patients and nondiabetic patients receiving combination antiviral therapy. Diabetic patients who received insulin achieved lower SVR compared with those not receiving insulin. Poor diabetes control was associated with lower SVR rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / virology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Viral Load / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Ribavirin
  • Metformin
  • peginterferon alfa-2b
  • peginterferon alfa-2a