HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins)



The statins are a class of drugs that includes lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin. These drugs function by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, blocking cholesterol synthesis in the liver. In response, the liver increases uptake of LDL cholesterol from blood, decreasing circulating levels of LDL. Statins can also lower triglyceride levels and increase HDL levels. This improvement in the lipid profile is extremely useful in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and hyperlipidemia, where statins confer a survival benefit by preventing stroke and heart disease. Lastly, the side effects of taking statins include myopathy and hepatotoxicity.