Use of statins and the risk of acute pancreatitis: a population-based case-control study

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2015 Oct;24(10):1085-92. doi: 10.1002/pds.3858. Epub 2015 Aug 24.


Purpose: The aim of this research was to examine the association between statin use and the risk of acute pancreatitis.

Methods: This register-based case-control study with incidence density sampling was based on 4376 patients hospitalized in 2008-2010 for acute pancreatitis and 19 859 randomly selected age and sex-matched controls from the adult population of Finland. The relationship between statin use from 1 January 2004 to the index date and the relative incidence rate of acute pancreatitis was modelled by conditional logistic regression. The rate ratios were adjusted for comorbidities.

Results: A total of 826 (19%) cases and 2589 (13%) controls had been exposed to statins. Statin use was associated with an increased incidence rate of acute pancreatitis (odds ratio (OR) 1.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13-1.39). This increase was seen especially during the first year of use both among current (OR 1.37, 95% CI 0.94-2.00 for at most 3 months of use and OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.07-1.63 for 4-12 months of use) and former users (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.33-2.03). The overall association remained when restricting analyses to participants with current use only, or with no history of gallstone or alcohol-related diseases, or with no comorbidities or medicines other than statins.

Conclusions: Statin use seems to be associated with an increased risk of acute pancreatitis. The association is more apparent during the first year of statin use and among former users.

Keywords: acute pancreatitis; density sampling; observational study; pharmacoepidemiology; population-based; register-based; statins.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / chemically induced*
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology*
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors