Statin use in cirrhosis patients lowers the risk of death, Dr. Ulrich Bang and his associates reported in a retrospective case-cohort analysis.

After applying selection criteria, the investigators identified 5,417 patients with alcoholic cirrhosis from the Danish National Patient Registry based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, Danish National Prescription Registry based on the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical, Danish Register of Causes of Death, and the Danish Civil Registration System from 1995 through 2014.

To conduct statistical analysis, the 5,417 were split into two groups – the first being an unmatched cohort. The unmatched cohort, which included all 5,417 patients, was not statistically balanced between statin vs. nonstatin users. Of the 5,417 patients, 744 were selected into a matched cohort using propensity scores (PS). This group was statistically balanced with one patient using statins being compared with two nonstatin users.

The unmatched group of 5,417 patients had 794 members (15%) who had used statins at least twice in a 30-day time period between first reported use and last reported use.

“In the unmatched cohort, we found mortality rates of 96 (86-106) per 1,000 [patient-years] for patients in therapy with statins and 121 (117-125) for the nonstatin patients and a [hazard ratio] of 0.66 (0.59-0.75) for statins vs. no statins,” the researchers wrote.

The PS-matched group’s “mortality rates were 88 (73-105) and 127 (114-142) for statin vs. nonstatin patients, respectively, and the HR was 0.57 (0.45-0.71)” ( Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Oct;46[7]:673-80 ).

When analyzing decompensation, the rate of decompensation was 135 (114-160) per 1,000 person-years in those who had used statins for treatment. Among patients who had not undergone statin treatment, the rate was 361 (348-375) per 1,000 person-years. These results corresponded to an HR rate of 0.29 in an adjusted analysis. This varied from the PS-matched group, which experienced decompensation rates of 133 (104-170) for statin users and 234 (202-272) for nonstatin users.

In a subcohort analysis of 387 patients suffering from cirrhosis who had received consistent doses of statins, they had a reduced risk of death compared to an unmatched group of 4,975 patients who had not used statins. Patients receiving consistent doses of statins were said to be in a “stable” state. Ultimately, it was found for each 25% increase in stable state statin dosing, the risk of death decreased by 16%.

“The use of statins was associated with a reduced risk of decompensation and death in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and the association between use of statins and death was more pronounced in patients with cirrhosis compared with noncirrhotic controls,” the investigators noted. “No convincing dose-response association was found but patients with a more constant exposure to statins may benefit more from the treatment.”

One coauthor had previously served as an adviser to Ferring Pharmaceuticals and as a speaker for Norgine Danmark. There were no other financial disclosures to report.


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