PURPOSE The aim of this research was to examine the association between statin use and the risk of acute pancreatitis. METHODS This register-based case-control study with incidence density sampling was based on 4376 patients hospitalized in 2008-2010 for acute pancreatitis and 19 859 randomly selected age and sex-matched controls from the adult population of Finland. The relationship between statin use from 1 January 2004 to the index date and the relative incidence rate of acute pancreatitis was modelled by conditional logistic regression. The rate ratios were adjusted for comorbidities. RESULTS A total of 826 (19%) cases and 2589 (13%) controls had been exposed to statins. Statin use was associated with an increased incidence rate of acute pancreatitis (odds ratio (OR) 1.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13-1.39). This increase was seen especially during the first year of use both among current (OR 1.37, 95% CI 0.94-2.00 for at most 3 months of use and OR 1.32, 95% CI 1.07-1.63 for 4-12 months of use) and former users (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.33-2.03). The overall association remained when restricting analyses to participants with current use only, or with no history of gallstone or alcohol-related diseases, or with no comorbidities or medicines other than statins. CONCLUSIONS Statin use seems to be associated with an increased risk of acute pancreatitis. The association is more apparent during the first year of statin use and among former users.