Statins and the Liver

Hi, this is the first time I have asked for advice, although I have been following your posts for several months. 20 months ago, after 5 weeks in hospital, I was diagnosed with severe fatty liver and other complications and after Fibroscan, F4 fibrosis in other words cirrhosis.

I changed lifestyle, diet and exercised more. In December 14 US scan showed "effectively normal liver" and bloods all within normal ranges - what a relief! Clinic have arranged another Fibroscan for end of February.

My problem is - also in December I had MOT health check at surgery; all good except cholesterol a bit high 7.5. Doc wanted to prescribe statins, but I said I'd like to think about it which didn't go down too well.

But researching statins there are so many fors and againsts. Namely, 20 years ago 7.5 would not have been considered high and females over 60 should have slightly higher cholesterol (don't know why!). Also NICE advise GPs to monitor patients on statins for signs of hepatic impairment as well as doing 6 monthly liver and lung function tests as statins can irritate or even damage the liver.

I don't want to compromise my liver any more than necessary, but also don't want to go against medical advice.

Your opinions would be greatly valued. Thanks for taking the time to read. Best Wishes, Anne

8 Replies

  • Hello Ann, If you are currently still under a consultant regarding your liver it is a question I would put to them.

    As you say there seem to be different arguments for and against - someone on here only this past few days was saying her partner/hubby was prescribed statins to help with fatty liver whilst others have heard prominent hepatologysts speak out on how they are harmful to the liver.

    GP's do seem to be dishing them out like the new greatest cure in the world at the moment I know my Dad is on them (no liver issues just slightly high cholesterol) and my brother was recently prescribed them (he has numerous auto-immune conditions but so far nothing with his liver other than steroid induced diabetes - diet controlled). Dad is taking them, brother has decided against.

    Like you say you don't want to compromise your liver more, but, is your heart more at risk with the cholesterol? A real dilemma and one a gastro or hep should be able to help you with.

    None of us are qualified to say yeah or nay. A question for the docs.

    Sorry couldn't be more help.

    Katie :)

  • Thanks Katie,all input is useful. Regards, Anne

  • Which element of your cholesterol was high Anne? Did they give you the results in detail so that you could see the levels for HDL, LDL and Triglyceride or did they just give you the total ratio? I think you need the results in detail before making a decision, and i also think you are right in having a think about it.

    The question of statins and the liver is not clear cut. Statins used long term can trigger Autoimmune Hepatitis in susceptible people. Who is susceptible, I have no idea, but you are right to want to weigh up the risks and benefits for you as an individual. If high cholesterol is genetic in your family, you may have no choice but to go with the statins, as you dont want a heart attack/stroke while you worry about possible damage to your liver. However I think its worth trying a dietary approach first to see if you can improve things without tablets. I believe GPs are paid for diagnosing high cholesterol and prescribing statins, (I may be wrong) so I guess its an easy option for them, and of course here's hoping you have an excellent relationship with your GP and they will be happy to have to as an expert/assertive patient and not write you off as a bolshy one and refuse to do liver function tests in the future (I'm sure they are not supposed to but I guess GP's are human too!)

  • Thanks for reply Bolly, they only gave me the one figure. My next appointment is 9th Feb, so will ask more questions. I am trying the one a day yoghurt drink "proven to reduce cholesterol"! Unfortunately I am in limbo re consultants, mine has left to join the transplant team at another hospital. Regards, Anne

  • Statins are not good for the Liver, but ask your Hep doc. What was your Fibroscan score?

  • Thanks Ralph, my Fibroscan is on 20th Feb, not expecting a miracle just hoping no progression.

  • Good Afternoon,

    We have some information in our Non-alcohol related fatty liver publication, pages 23 -24, which can be found on our website: This may help you to make an informed choice; you can also find some information on the British Heart Foundations website:

    I would advise speaking with your GP if you are worried and weighing up the pros and cons of taking them. Your GP should do regular blood tests while you are on them to ensure your liver function remains ok.

    I hope this is of some help? If you have any further questions I am happy to try and answer them, or to ask a specialist if you are unable to contact yours due to them changing.

    Kind regards

    Sandy Forsyth

    Patient Support and Information Manager

  • interesting post...I'm in a similar boat-dont have cirrhosis but fatty liver and a similar cholesterol level 7.5. Last time I saw my doc he suggested statins. Dont think he was pushing them for financial reasons. There is strong evidence of much greater risk of heart attack/stroke with fatty liver. Statins as far as I can see dont help with the fatty liver itself-this can be addressed with diet as youve done. I'm 59 myself. I've always had doctors though who have advised against statins so far...It may be now thouigh that the risks warrant statins-cant comment on the damage to the liver from statins-I've been told that GGTs can be raised and I already have high GGTs

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