Non-cirrhotic people coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are much less likely to experience liver disease progression if they are taking a statin. Researchers followed 1,366 coinfected individuals between 2001 and 2014 and presented their findings at IDWeek in San Diego.

The investigators assessed liver disease progression through the FIB-4 scoring system and categorized someone as having experienced liver disease progression if they advanced at least one stage in the five-point scale over time. (The scale starts with F0, indicating no fibrosis, and ends with F4, meaning advanced fibrosis, otherwise known as cirrhosis.) The researchers only looked at the liver disease advancement of those who did not already have cirrhosis.

A total of 230 (16.8 percent) of the cohort used statins, and for a median 1.47 years. The statin and non-statin users, respectively, had a median age of 48 and 44; 36 percent and 17 percent had diabetes; 55 percent and 46 percent were taking antiretroviral (ARV) for HIV; and 18 percent and 15 percent had cirrhosis already. Thirteen percent of the statin users died, as did 28 percent of the non-users.

Among 1,041 participants who did not have cirrhosis at the outset, 48 percent of the non-users experienced liver disease progression, compared with just 7 percent of the statin users. The rate of liver progression per 1,000 person years was 117.9 among the non-users and 22.9 among the users.

After adjusting the data for age, sex, race, injection drug use, CD4 count, HIV viral load and cholesterol, the researchers found that statin use reduced the risk of liver progression by 83 percent; older age increased the risk by 3 percent; and injection drug use increased the risk by 27 percent.

The researchers concluded that “statins should be strongly considered in coinfected patients with indications for their use.”
To read the conference abstract, click here.