Hepatotoxicity of statins and other lipid-lowering agents

Liver Int. 2017 Feb;37(2):173-178. doi: 10.1111/liv.13308. Epub 2016 Nov 27.


Statins are generally well tolerated and adverse effects are relatively rare. Clinical trials are underpowered to detect uncommon adverse effects such as idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury. This review is aimed at covering the current knowledge on the hepatotoxicity associated with statins and other lipid lowering drugs. Both atorvastatin and simvastatin have been associated with more than 50 case reports of liver injury and other statins have been implicated in this type of liver injury as well. Idiosyncratic liver injury due to statins has been reported to occur 1.9%-5.5% of patients in prospective series of drug-induced liver injury. Atorvastatin and simvastatin have been associated with positive rechallenge and some case reports have described liver injury following dose escalation of the implicated statin. Mortality from liver injury and/or liver transplantation has been documented in a few patients with statin induced liver injury although the vast majority of patients with liver injury have recovered after cessation of therapy.

Keywords: atorvastatin; drug-induced liver injury; hepatotoxicity; simvastatin; statins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atorvastatin / adverse effects*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Simvastatin / adverse effects*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Atorvastatin
  • Simvastatin