OBJECTIVES: The protective effect of statins in cirrhosis and its decompensation in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients remains unknown. METHODS: We conducted a population-based cohort study using data from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database from 1997 to 2009. A total of 298,761 CHB patients were identified. CHB patients using statins (n=6,543; defined as ≥28 cumulative defined daily doses (cDDD)) and a 1:1 ratio propensity score and inception point (the date of first use of statins)-matched non-statins (<28 cDDD) were followed up from the inception point until the development of cirrhosis or its decompensation or until withdrawal from insurance or December 2009. RESULTS: After adjustment for competing mortality, CHB patients using statins had a significantly lower cumulative incidence of cirrhosis (relative risk)=0.433; 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.344-0.515; modified log-rank test, P<0.001) and decompensated cirrhosis (relative risk=0.468; 95% CI=0.344-0.637; P<0.001) compared with patients not using statins. After adjustment for age, gender, comorbidity index, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hepatocellular carcinoma, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, aspirin use, diabetes medication, CHB treatment, non-statin lipid-lowering drugs, and triglyceride lipid-lowering drugs using the Cox proportional hazard model, statins were still an independent protector against cirrhosis (adjusted hazard ratio (AHR)=0.512; 95% CI=0.413-0.634; P<0.001) and its decompensation (AHR=0.534; 95% CI=0.433-0.659; P<0.001). The AHRs for cirrhosis were 0.467 and 0.200, and the AHRs for decompensated cirrhosis were 0.611 and 0.231 with 91-365 and >365 cDDD of statins, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: CHB patients who receive statin therapy have a dose-dependent reduction in the risk of cirrhosis and its decompensation.
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