The addition of statins to hepatitis C virus infection antiviral therapy slowed the progression of liver fibrosis and reduced hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis incidence, according to data from the Electronically Retrieved Cohort of HCV Infected Veterans.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, including Adeel A. Butt, MD, MS, FIDSA, and colleagues from the VA Pittsburgh, Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute of Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar, and Harvard Medical School, investigated the effect of statins on antiviral therapy for HCV by analyzing data of 7,248 eligible patients who received HCV therapy and had a follow-up of at least 24 months. Forty-six percent of all the patients reviewed received statin therapy.
Adeel A. Butt
“These results are very provocative and indicate that even with HCV treatment, patients are still at risk of liver-related complications, and such risk may be reduced by adjunct therapies like statins,” Butt told Healio.com/Hepatology. “The ultimate consequence of HCV infection is liver damage, and our ultimate goal should be to reduce such damage.”
Of the patients investigated, cirrhosis developed in 17% of those on statins vs. 25% of those not on statins, whereas HCC developed in 1.2% of those on statins and 2.6% of those not on statins, according to Butt.
Bivariate analysis showed that patients who received statins with HCV therapy had an increased odds of achieving sustained virologic response compared with patients who did not receive statins (39.2% vs. 33.3%; P < .001), as well as decreased cirrhosis development (17.3% vs. 25.2%; P < .001) and lower HCC incidence (1.2% vs. 2.6%; P < .001).
“Eradication of HCV leads to improved survival and reduction in liver-related complications,” Butt said. “However, a significant number of patients still experience such complications. Management of HCV-infected patients should now focus as much as reducing complications as eradication of the virus itself.” – by Melinda Stevens
Disclosure: Butt reports receiving grant support to his institution from Gilead Sciences and AbbVie. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.