Statin Use in Patients With Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis: Current Evidence and Future Directions

Malek Kreidieh, Rachelle Hamadi, Mira Alsheikh, Hassan Al Moussawi, Liliane Deeb


Chronic liver disease (CLD) and its complications constitute a significant cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Most deaths are secondary to the decompensation of cirrhosis and evolution of portal hypertension (PHTN). Since disease progression reversal is hardly attainable after decompensated cirrhosis develops, it is essential to intervene early with a therapeutic agent or regimen that could prevent or slow disease evolution. Thus far, there has been no agreed-upon medication to help in the fight against the development of cirrhosis or its decompensation. While early data depicted statins as harmful agents for the liver, current evidence from preclinical and clinical studies suggests that they might have positive impact on CLD. Low-quality evidence supports the fact that statins reduce mortality in CLD. Moderate-quality evidence suggests that statins reduce the risk of hepatic decompensation, variceal bleeding, and mortality, especially among patients with compensated cirrhosis. Combining this data with the long track-record of safety and tolerability of statins and their potential benefits in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk reduction, hepatologists might soon rely on statins to achieve better outcomes in their CLD and cirrhotic patients without significant additional costs. This review describes the rationale behind the use of statins in patients with CLD and cirrhosis. It sheds light on the current preclinical and clinical studies that reflect beneficial effects of the use of different types and doses of statins in the treatment of patients with different types and stages of CLD and cirrhosis. It also emphasizes the need for designing and developing additional large prospective interventional randomized control trials (RCTs) to better evaluate the association between statin exposure and the risk of fibrosis progression and development of cirrhosis in patients with non-cirrhotic CLDs, the risk of progression of PHTN in patients with cirrhosis, and the mortality rates in patients with cirrhotic or non-cirrhotic CLDs.

Gastroenterol Res. 2022;15(1):1-12


Statins; Chronic liver disease; Cirrhosis; Portal hypertension; Hepatocellular carcinoma

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