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Gastroenterology. 2009 May;136(5):1593-600. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2009.01.042. Epub 2009 Jan 24.

Statin use and the risk of cholecystectomy in women.

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  • 1Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0298, USA.



Statins can reduce biliary cholesterol secretion independently of their ability to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. Statins also prevent the formation of gallstones in animal studies, although the effect of statins on human gallstone disease has been controversial.


We examined the relationship between the use of statins and the risk of cholecystectomy in a cohort of US women. As part of the prospective Nurses' Health Study, participants biennially reported their history of gallstone disease and whether they had undergone cholecystectomy. Women also reported lifetime use of statins retrospectively in 2000. We conducted a retrospective analysis of statin using data collected in 2000, to define use from 1994 forward, and a prospective analysis for general lipid-lowering drugs from 1994 to 2004.


In the statin analysis we ascertained 2479 cases of cholecystectomy during 305,197 person-years of follow-up evaluation. The multivariate relative risk for current statin users, compared with nonusers, was 0.82 (95% confidence interval, 0.70-0.96). In the analysis of general cholesterol-lowering drugs, we ascertained 3420 cases of cholecystectomy during 511,411 person-years of follow-up evaluation. Compared with nonusers, the multivariate relative risk for current users of general cholesterol-lowering drugs, mostly statins in this cohort, was 0.88 (95% confidence interval, 0.79-0.98).


Statin use appears to reduce the risk of cholecystectomy in women.

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