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 and narrow or even block 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. This 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
- Cholesterol and Statins (Food and Drug Administration)
- JAMA Patient Page: Statins (American Medical Association) - PDF
- Statins: Are These Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Right for You? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Cholesterol Drugs May Lower Stroke Risk for Healthy Older Adults (05/20/2015, HealthDay)
- Statins May Slow Prostate Cancer Progression (05/07/2015, HealthDay)
- Can Statins Help Lower Lung Cancer Death Risk? (05/01/2015, HealthDay)
- More News on Statins
- Coenzyme Q10: Can It Prevent Statin Side Effects? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Are You Taking the Right Treatment for Your High Cholesterol? (Consumers Union of U.S.) Available in Spanish
- FDA Expands Advice on Statin Risks (Food and Drug Administration)
- Rhabdomyolysis from Statins: What's the Risk? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Statin Side Effects: Weigh the Benefits and Risks (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Statins and Cancer Prevention (National Cancer Institute)
- Statins and Risk of New-Onset Diabetes Mellitus (American Heart Association)
- Statins: Do They Cause ALS? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (National Institutes of Health)
- Comparative Effectiveness of Generic and Brand-Name Statins on Patient Outcomes (American College of Physicians) - PDF
- Research Finds Link Between Statin Use and Progressive Muscle Disease (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)