Statin therapy and plasma free fatty acids: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials

Amirhossein Sahebkar, Luis E. Simental-Mendía, Claudio Pedone, Gianna Ferretti, Petr Nachtigal, Simona Bo, Giuseppe Derosa, Pamela Maffioli, Gerald F. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIM: The aim of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the effect of statin therapy on plasma FFA concentrations in a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Methods: PubMed-Medline, SCOPUS, Web of Science and Google Scholar databases were searched (from inception to February 16 2015) to identify controlled trials evaluating the impact of statins on plasma FFA concentrations. A systematic assessment of bias in the included studies was performed using the Cochrane criteria. A random effects model and generic inverse variance method were used for quantitative data synthesis. Sensitivity analysis was conducted using the leave-one-out method. Random effects meta-regression was performed using unrestricted maximum likelihood method to evaluate the impact of potential moderators. Results: Meta-analysis of data from 14 treatment arms indicated a significant reduction in plasma FFA concentrations following treatment with statins (weighted mean difference (WMD) -19.42%, 95% CI -23.19, --15.64, P <0.001). Subgroup analysis confirmed the significance of the effect with both atorvastatin (WMD -20.56%, 95% CI -24.51, -16.61, P <0.01) and simvastatin (WMD -18.05%, 95% CI -28.12, -7.99, P <0.001). Changes in plasma FFA concentrations were independent of treatment duration (slope -0.10, 95% CI -0.30, 0.11, P = 0.354) and magnitude of reduction in plasma low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations (slope 0.55, 95% CI -0.17, 1.27, P = 0.133) by statins. Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that statin therapy may lower plasma FFA concentrations. The cardiovascular and metabolic significance of this finding requires further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Cholesterol
  • Dyslipidaemia
  • Fatty acid
  • Meta-analysis
  • Statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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