Statin therapy may lower the risk of premature death in patients with cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol, according to a new study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Using 1995 to 2014 data from the Danish registers, researchers compared outcomes for statin users versus non-users. Propensity score matching with a statin:non-statin ratio of 1:2 was used. Statin use was included from the time of cirrhosis diagnosis (ICD-10: K703) to death or end of follow-up based on prescription claims.

A total of 5,417 patients were eligible for matching, with a final total of 744 in the matched cohort. Results showed that mortality rates were 88 (95% CI; 73–105) per 1,000 years for patients using statins and 127 (95% CI; 114–141) for non-statin patients; the hazard ratio was 0.57 (95% CI; 0.41–0.71). Additionally, a regular pattern of statin claims was associated with a lower risk of death. 

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Clinicians may be reluctant to prescribe statins to patients with liver disease because of the concern for possible liver enzyme abnormalities. “The results are promising and we are looking forward to seeing whether prospective trials can verify the finding,” said Dr Ulrich Bang, lead author of the study.

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