Cirrhosis of liver or hepatic cirrhosis refers to the diseased or damaged liver. Hepatitis and Alcohol abuse is the commonest cause. Liver cirrhosis symptoms include fatigue, weakness, jaundice, gastrointestinal bleeding and abdominal swelling. Around a million cases are diagnosed in India every year. Medicines can help but the damage is generally irreparable and in some cases, a liver transplant may be advised for cirrhosis treatment.
Statins are a class of drugs which are used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin are some its variants sold under various brand names. These drugs act on the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase which plays a pivotal role in the production of cholesterol. Muscle pain is one of its commonest side effects.
In spite of its wide usage, the drug has not been administered to patients with liver cirrhosis. However, In a new Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics analysis of data from the Danish National Patient Registry patients who had cirrhosis (resulting from alcohol consumption), it was found that patients who consume statins were 43% less likely to die prematurely.
The belief had that statin might result in abnormal enzyme levels in liver and add to the liver damage but this myth has been broken down. In an article on newsroom.wiley.com, one of the research team members said “The results are promising and we are looking forward to seeing whether prospective trials can verify the finding.