Statins for the treatment of fatty liver

18 February, 2024

Statins are effective in treating cardiovascular and liver diseases, reducing risks and improving hepatic health.

Statins (atorvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, etc.) are drugs used to lower cholesterol effectively to prevent cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke). It is estimated that 25% of people over 40 years old and 50% of people over 70 years old use them.

Various studies have shown that statins have a favorable effect on patients with liver diseases (including cirrhosis), as published in the journal Hepatology. However, statins have been linked to increased levels of liver enzymes in  patients with liver diseases. This normally occurs in the first 90 days of treatment, although it is usually transitory and gradually subsides without the need to withdraw the statins. Therefore, in liver diseases without cirrhosis the use of statins is not contraindicated.

Use in the treatment of fatty liver

On the contrary, several studies have shown that treatment with statins can be useful in fatty liver to prevent and delay the appearance of fibrosis. In addition, statin treatment has been shown to reduce the risk of developing fatty liver. This is due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of statins and that by decreasing cholesterol levels, the risk of fat deposits in the liver is reduced, which is very useful in liver diseases, especially in fatty liver.

In the case of patients with liver cirrhosis, the excellent safety of treatment with statins and the contribution of benefits to the control of the disease have also been demonstrated. In this sense, it has been proven that the administration of statins in cirrhosis reduces the risk of mortality by 40% compared to the absence of treatment. Moreover, infections are also reduced by 33%. Also the administration of statins to these patients decreases the risk of complications (hepatic decompensation) by 46% and helps to reduce the risk of bleeding since the pressure of the portal vein is reduced. Finally, it has been observed that the probability of developing liver cancer in patients with cirrhosis treated with statins decreases by 37%.

At our Foundation, Dr. Carreño and his team administer statin treatment to liver patients when indicated.

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