Volume 19 - Number 2

April - June 2017

Statins in HIV-Infected Patients: Potential Beneficial Effects and Clinical Use

Enrique Bernal, Irene Marín, Mar Masiá and Félix Gutiérrez

Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital General de Elche and Universidad Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain


Patients living with HIV have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease that is considered to be the result of an interaction between traditional cardiovascular risk factors, particularly smoking and dyslipidemia, and persistent chronic inflammation and immune activation associated with HIV infection, along with side effects of antiretroviral therapy. In the general population, the administration of statins has been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease-associated mortality, and these drugs are among the most common class of medication prescribed in high-income countries. The beneficial effect of statins extends beyond reducing cholesterol levels as they have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and vasodilatory effects, and to improve endothelial function. Despite the widespread use of statins in the general population, cohort studies show that these drugs are underutilized in HIV-infected patients, probably due to safety concerns by clinicians and limited data evaluating clinical outcomes in patients on antiretroviral therapy. In this article we review and update the most important clinical studies of statins in HIV-infected patients, describe their side effects and interaction profiles, and discuss the anti-atherosclerotic and pleiotropic effects of these drugs. Finally, we propose recommendations for clinical use of statins in patients living with HIV.

Key Words:

Cardiovascular risk. Clinical use. HIV. Hyperlipidemia. Pleiotropic effect. Statin.

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