Statin drugs decrease progression to cirrhosis in HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfected individuals

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Abstract

Introduction:

Chronic HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection carries increased risk of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and death. Due to anti-inflammatory properties, 3-hydroxy-3methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) inhibitors (statins) may be useful adjunctive therapy to reduce liver disease progression.

Methods:

Clinical information was extracted from the Veterans Affairs HIV and HCV Clinical Case Registries (1999–2010). HIV-related variables included combination antiretroviral therapy era of diagnosis, CD4+ cell count, and percentage time with undetectable HIV viral load. Metabolic variables included diabetes, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and hypertension. Statin use was measured as percentage time with active prescription (time-updated throughout the follow-up period). Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to determine risk factors for cirrhosis (International Classification of Diseases-9 or aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index >2) overall and in groups stratified by alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level above and below 40 IU/l.

Results:

The cohort included 5985 HIV/HCV coinfected veterans. The majority was black race, and the mean age at index date was 45 years. Statin use was significantly protective of cirrhosis for patients with ALT 40 IU/l or less; for every 30% increase in time on statin, there was a 32% decreased risk of developing cirrhosis (hazard ratio 0.68, 95% confidence interval 0.47–0.98). Diabetes and low HDL were significantly associated with cirrhosis in patients with ALT greater than 40 IU/l (hazard ratio 1.15, P < 0.04 and hazard ratio 1.3, P < 0.0001).

Conclusion:

Statin drug use is beneficial in mitigating the risk of liver disease progression for HIV/HCV coinfected patients without advanced liver disease. Low HDL and diabetes in coinfected patients with abnormal ALT have greater risk of cirrhosis development.

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