SNAPSHOTS —Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief

Article: Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is associated with increased risk of 
preterm birth: a meta-analysis of observational studies—Q Huang et al.
Source: J Viral Hepat. 2015 Dec;22(12):1033-42. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12430. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

Results and Conclusions
The authors of the study conducted a meta-analysis (combining previous studies) on the relationship between chronic hepatitis C infection and premature birth. The authors reviewed electronic records of nine studies of 4,186,698 people of whom 5,218 were pregnant women with HCV. After controlling for alcohol use, smoking, drug use, and women coinfected with HBV or HIV it was found that women with HCV had a high risk for preterm birth.

The Bottom Line
HCV-positive women who are pregnant are at high risk for pre-term birth even after controlling for the above-listed co-factors.

Editorial Comment
What I was not able to discern from the abstract was the level of pre-natal care the HCV-positive women received. There are some studies currently being conducted across the U.S. on HCV-positive women who are pregnant that may shed more light on this issue and some emerging issues on HCV, pregnancy, childbirth and HCV in children.

Article: Statin use and the risk of cirrhosis development in patients with hepatitis C virus infection—Y Yang et al.

Results and Conclusions
This was a study conducted in Taiwan on 226, 856 people with chronic hepatitis C infection who were followed from 1997 to 2010. The aim was to identify the risk of cirrhosis among those who took statins. A total of 34,273 cases of cirrhosis were identified among the group. It was found that statin use was safe and reduced the risk of the development to cirrhosis.

The Bottom Line
There was some concern in the past that statin use in people with chronic hepatitis C might be harmful. This study and many previous studies have debunked this concern. In fact, studies including this one have shown that statin use can reduce the risk of progression to cirrhosis.

Editorial Comment
Every medication can have side effects and statins are known to have some side effects as listed in the side bar. If we can treat people with hepatitis C and cure them, we would not even have to talk about this

Statins are a class of drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. By lowering the levels, they help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Studies show that, in certain people,  statins reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death from heart disease by about 25% to 35%. Statins are known to have side effects such as fatigue, muscle pain, cramps, nausea, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.  For some people, cholesterol levels can be managed with diet and exercise.  For those with inherited high cholesterol or who can not control it with diet and exercise cholesterol medication(s) have to be taken for life.    

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