Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries, narrowing or even blocking them.
If diet and exercise don't reduce your cholesterol levels, you may need to take medicine. Often, this medicine is a statin. Statins interfere with the production of cholesterol in your liver. They lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels and can slow the formation of plaques in your arteries.
Statins are relatively safe for most people. But they are not recommended for pregnant patients or those with active or chronic liver disease. They can also cause serious muscle problems. Some statins also interact adversely with other drugs. You may have fewer side effects with one statin drug than another.
Researchers are also studying the use of statins for other conditions.
Food and Drug Administration
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)