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Incidence of Statin-Associated Adverse Events in Kidney Transplant Recipients.

BACKGROUND: Statins are the third most prescribed drug class in kidney transplant recipients as cardiovascular diseases is the leading cause of death in this population. However, statins' safety profile remains unclear in kidney transplant recipients who are uniquely burdened by concomitant immunosuppression and comorbidities. We conducted a national study to characterize the association of statin use with adverse events in kidney transplant recipients.

METHODS: We studied adult (≥18) single-organ kidney transplant recipients in 2006-2016 with Medicare as primary payer (n=57,699). We used prescription drug claims to capture statin use, and ICD-9/10 diagnosis codes to capture statin-related adverse events (post-transplant diabetes mellitus, hemorrhagic stroke, cataract, liver injury, and rhabdomyolysis). We conducted multivariable Cox regression for each outcome with statin use as a time-varying exposure.

RESULTS: Post-transplant diabetes mellitus was the most common outcome (5-year Kaplan-Meier incidence; 43% in statin users vs. 35% in non-users), followed by cataract (22% vs. 12%), liver injury (2% vs. 3%), hemorrhagic stroke (1.9% vs. 1.4%), and rhabdomyolysis (1.5% vs. 0.9%). In our multivariable analysis, statin use was associated with higher hazard of post-transplant diabetes mellitus (aHR=1.12 [95% CI, 1.07-1.18]), cataract (aHR=1.22 [1.14-1.31]), and rhabdomyolysis (aHR=1.37 [1.10-1.71]), but lower hazard of liver injury (aHR=0.82 [0.71-0.95]). Statin use was not associated with hemorrhagic stroke (aHR=1.04 [0.86-1.26]).

CONCLUSIONS: Statins appear to be generally well-tolerated in kidney transplant recipients. However, statin use might be associated with slightly higher risk of post-transplant diabetes mellitus, cataract, and rhabdomyolysis.

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