By Lilian Anekwe
Statins can be safely given to patients with moderately abnormal liver function tests according to data from a joint UK and Greek study.
It suggests long-term statin therapy reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease events in patients with abnormal LFTs – with no significant impact on liver enzymes. In fact the cardiovascular benefit is greater than in patients with normal liver function.
1,600 patients aged 75 and over with coronary heart disease were randomly assigned to receive either atorvastatin 10-80mg depending on LDL-cholesterol levels, or usual care, consisting of lifestyle changes, adoption of a low-fat diet, weight loss, and exercise, and any necessary drug treatment, including a statin.
Cardiovascular events occurred in 10% of patients with abnormal LFTs who received a statin, compared with 30% of patients with abnormal LFTs who did not receive a statin, a significant 68% relative risk reduction.
Of the patients with abnormal liver function at baseline, 14% had a cardiovascular event, compared with 23% in patients with normal baseline LFTs, a 39% relative risk reduction.
Study leader Dr Dimitri Mikhailidis, academic head of the department of clinical biochemistry at University College London concluded: ‘The risk-to-benefit ratio favours statin administration even for patients with moderately abnormal liver tests.’
The Lancet, online 24 November
Statins ‘can be used in patients with abnormal LFTs’