Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its advanced form non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are the most common causes of elevated liver enzymes in the general population. NASH, and to a lesser extent NAFLD have been associated with increased liver-related, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and allcause mortality. No effective treatment is widely acceptable.
Objective: The purpose of this review is to summarize available data on the impact of statins on NAFLD and NASH.
Method: A comprehensive review of the literature was performed to identify studies assessing the effect of statin use in NAFLD/NASH.
Results: Recent reports have shown that the use of statins in patients with elevated plasma aminotransferases may be beneficial. Post hoc data from three large prospective randomized clinical trials (n>11, 000) suggest that specific statins (mainly atorvastatin) ameliorate NAFLD/NASH and reduce CVD events twice as much as in those with normal liver function. Several biopsy studies have found that rosuvastatin use is related with significant histological ameliorating effects in the setting of NASH. Statin treatment may also protect from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) related to NAFLD/NASH.
Conclusion: Since NAFLD/NASH patients have high CVD risk, they will probably require a statin. Thus, why not select a specific statins (atorvastatin or rosuvastatin, both generic now) that offer a substantial liver- and CVDrelated adverse event reduction? The administration of statins in these patients is as safe as in the general population.