Simvastatin in the Prevention of Recurrent Pancreatitis (SIMBA-16)

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    Enrique de-Madaria
Updated on 12 February 2022
acute pancreatitis
acute recurrent pancreatitis


Recurrent acute pancreatitis and recurrent relapses of inflammation in chronic pancreatitis are an important problem. In some cases, prevention of these acute flares of inflammation is not possible. Population-based studies and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials suggest that statins may decrease the incidence of acute pancreatitis. SIMBA aims to investigate the effect of simvastatin on the incidence of new episodes of pancreatitis in recurrent acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. This is a non-profit, researcher-driven placebo-controlled multicenter (27 Spanish centers) randomized controlled trial


Acute pancreatitis (AP) is the 3rd cause of hospital admission due to gastrointestinal disease. Approximately 20% of the patients will relapse after a first episode of AP. The low frequency of relapse in biliary AP is due to the high effectiveness of cholecystectomy but a first episode of AP due to alcoholic or other etiologies is associated with relapse in one every four patients. Currently, besides counselling for alcohol and tobacco abstinence, there is no specific medical treatment that changes the natural history of recurrent AP. Recurrent AP is an intermediary stage in the pathogenesis of chronic pancreatitis (CP) and a subset of recurrent AP patients during their natural course transition to CP (one every three patients). Forty-five percent of patients with CP experience intermittent flares of pain. Simvastatin has been associated to a decrease in the incidence of AP in a population-based study (Wu et al, Gut. 2015) and in a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (Preiss et al, JAMA 2012).

The main aim of SIMBA (SIMvastatin in the prevention of recurrent pancreatitis, a triple Blind rAndomized controlled multicenter trial) is to compare the recurrence rate of pancreatitis in patients with established recurrent pancreatitis (acute pancreatitis and acute flares in chronic pancreatitis) consuming simvastatin versus placebo.

The secondary aims are 1) to compare in patients with recurrent AP at the end of follow-up period the progression to chronic pancreatitis on imaging (calcifications and/or dilated ductal system), as well as endocrine and exocrine pancreatic function; 2) to compare the severity of recurrent pancreatitis between both treatment arms.

Design: SIMBA is a triple-blind randomized placebo-controlled, parallel-group, superiority multicenter (27 Spanish centers) trial. This final protocol (version 4) was finished on June 20th 2018.

Condition Pancreatitis Relapsing
Treatment Placebo, simvastatin 40mg
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04021498
SponsorEnrique de-Madaria
Last Modified on12 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Adult (>=18) patients
At least 2 episodes of acute pancreatitis or acute flares of chronic pancreatitis
Written consent to participate in the study

Exclusion Criteria

Statin consumption in the previous year
Contraindications to the use of Statins
Endoscopic sphyncterotomy and/or cholecystectomy and/or pancreatic surgery between last episode of AP and recruitment or patients who are expected to undergo one of this techniques in less than a year
Iatrogenic Pancreatitis
Abstinence syndrome due to alcohol or drugs and/or delirium tremens in the last 6 months before recruitment
Previous (last year) failure to attend follow-up medical visits, social problems that may be associated to failure to take the medication or to perform an adequate follow-up
Pregnancy, breastfeeding
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