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Keywords:

  • statins;
  • hepatitis C;
  • HCV;
  • side effects;
  • hepatotoxicity;
  • liver toxicity

Study Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness and hepatotoxicity of statins in patients who are seropositive for hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Design. Retrospective review of a registry of patients with HCV

Setting. Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Patients. One hundred forty-six male patients who were seropositive for HCV and had received statin therapy between January 1, 1995, and September 9, 2003.

Measurements and Main Results. Demographic and clinical data were collected for each patient; lipid and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels at baseline (within 6 mo of starting a statin), at 3 and 6 months after starting a statin, and at long-term follow-up (mean 22 mo) were also recorded. The primary efficacy end point was a significant decrease from baseline to long-term follow-up low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) level; the primary safety end point was a significant increase from baseline in ALT level. The mean change in LDL level was a reduction of 22% (p<0.01). No significant increases in ALT levels were observed; only one patient discontinued therapy due to ALT level elevations greater than 3 times the upper limit of normal.

Conclusion. In men seropositive for HCV, statins were effective in reducing LDL levels and did not result in significant increases in ALT levels from baseline. Thus, statin therapy should be considered for patients with HCV who are at risk for coronary heart disease and do not have significantly elevated serum transaminase levels at baseline.