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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Jul;4(7):902-7; quiz 806. Epub 2006 May 11.

Incidence of statin hepatotoxicity in patients with hepatitis C.

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Pharmacy Service, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.



Statins are considered contraindicated in patients with chronic liver disease. Our objective was to determine the risk of developing hepatotoxicity from statin therapy in hyperlipidemic patients with hepatitis C.


Changes in liver biochemistry values within 12 months compared with baseline were determined in 3 cohorts matched for age, sex, and body mass index: (I) 166 anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive hyperlipidemic veterans who were initiated on statin therapy; (II) 332 anti-HCV-positive veterans who had not received statin therapy; and (III) 332 anti-HCV-negative hyperlipidemic veterans who were initiated on statin therapy. An increase in liver biochemistry values was defined as mild-moderate or severe as proposed in a previous study on statin hepatotoxicity in a non-hepatitis C population.


In patients with hepatitis C, statin therapy (cohort I) was associated with a higher incidence of mild-moderate liver biochemistry value increases compared with those not on statin therapy (cohort II) (22.9% vs 13.3%, respectively, P = .009), but a lower incidence of severe increases (1.2% vs 6.6%, respectively, P = .015). Among patients started on statin therapy (cohorts I and III), the incidence of mild-moderate liver biochemistry value increases (22.9% vs 16.3%, respectively, P = .094), severe increases (1.2% vs 1%, respectively, P = .874), or discontinuation of statin therapy as a result of hepatotoxicity (21.6% vs 9.2%, respectively, P = .147) were similar in hepatitis C-positive and hepatitis C-negative patients.


Statin therapy was not associated with a higher risk of severe hepatotoxicity in patients with chronic hepatitis C and appeared safe.

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