Statin use and the risk of cirrhosis development in patients with hepatitis C virus infection

J Hepatol. 2015 Nov;63(5):1111-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.07.006. Epub 2015 Jul 18.


Background & aims: Several animal studies have shown that statins can inhibit the progression of cirrhosis; however, few clinical studies have been conducted. Previous studies have indicated that statins can prevent the progression of hepatic fibrosis in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and advanced hepatic fibrosis, however data is lacking on patients who have yet to progress to cirrhosis. This study investigated the association between the use of statin and the risk of cirrhosis development in patients with HCV infection.

Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study by using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. A total of 226,856 patients with HCV infection were included as the study cohort. Each patient was followed from 1997 to 2010 to identify incident cases of cirrhosis. A Cox proportional hazard regression was performed to evaluate the association between statin use and cirrhosis risk.

Results: A total of 34,273 cases of cirrhosis were identified in the cohort with HCV infection during the follow-up period of 2,874,031.7 person-years. The incidence rate was 445.5 cases of cirrhosis per 100,000 person-years (95% confidence interval (CI), 423.3 to 465.7) for statin users (defined as those who used more than 28 cumulative defined daily doses (cDDD)), and 1311.2 cirrhosis cases per 100,000 person-years (95% CI, 1297.1 to 1325.6) for non-users. A dose-response relationship between statin use and cirrhosis risk was observed. The adjusted hazard ratios were 0.33 (95% CI, 0.31 to 0.36), 0.24 (95% CI, 0.22 to 0.25), and 0.13 (95% CI, 0.12 to 0.15) for statin use of 28 to 83, 84 to 365, and more than 365 cDDD, respectively, relative to no statin use (<28 cDDD).

Conclusion: Among the patients with HCV infection, statin use was associated with a reduced risk of cirrhosis development in a dose-dependent manner. Further clinical research is required.

Keywords: Cirrhosis; Hepatitis C virus; Statin.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C / complications
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Incidence
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors