Jaundice due to suspected statin hepatotoxicity: a case series

Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Jul;57(7):1959-64. doi: 10.1007/s10620-011-1950-1. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Statin drugs are widely used worldwide and are generally considered safe and well tolerated. Only small proportion of patients receiving statins develop elevations of liver enzymes and an even smaller proportion will have clinically significant hepatitis induced by statins. We describe four patients with jaundice caused by drug-induced liver injury, where the most likely agent was a statin drug, over a period of approximately three year in Iceland. We calculate the risk of jaundice caused by statin drugs, from sale in the whole country of Iceland, to be one in 17,434 users a year. This is a higher risk than has previously been estimated and we challenge the current opinion that statins rarely cause clinically significant drug-induced liver injury and encourage alertness when managing patients with statins with regard to clinical signs of hepatitis before jaundice occurs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / complications*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Jaundice / diagnosis
  • Jaundice / etiology*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors