Do Statins Increase the Risk of Esophageal Conditions? Findings from Four Propensity Score-Matched Analyses

Ioana Smith, Robert Schmidt, E. A. Halm, I. A. Mansi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Statins are commonly used medications. Whereas some observational studies suggested an association of statin use with Barrett’s esophagus and some upper gastrointestinal symptoms, there is a dearth of data on the association of statins and common esophageal conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophagitis. The aim of this study is to examine the association of statins with esophageal conditions. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study using regional military healthcare data (1 October, 2003 to 1 March, 2012). The primary analyses evaluated the odds of: esophagitis; symptoms of esophagitis; gastroesophageal reflux disease/dyspepsia; and esophageal complications of gastroesophageal reflux disease in four propensity score-matched cohorts of statin users and non-users (propensity score-overall, propensity score-healthy, propensity score-women, and propensity score-men cohorts). Secondary and sensitivity analyses were performed. Results: In the propensity score-overall cohort (n = 12,684), statin users were more likely to be diagnosed with esophagitis (odds ratio 1.11, 95% confidence interval 1.01–1.22) and gastroesophageal reflux disease/dyspepsia (odds ratio 1.18, 95% confidence interval 1.10–1.27) compared with non-users. Similar findings were seen in the propensity score-healthy cohort and in the propensity score-men cohort. In the propensity score-women cohort, the odds of esophagitis was higher among statin users compared with non-users (odds ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.02–1.32) but other outcomes were not different. In sensitivity analyses, which excluded patients with obesity, statin use was not associated with an increased odds ratio of gastroesophageal reflux disease/dyspepsia. Conclusion: Statin therapy was associated with higher odds of being diagnosed with esophagitis and gastroesophageal reflux disease/dyspepsia. Further study is warranted to elucidate the potential role of statins in these commonly diagnosed esophageal conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Drug Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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