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Also called: HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
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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 cholesterol medicine. Often, this medicine is a statin. Statins interfere with the production of cholesterol in your liver. They lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (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

Start Here

  • Cholesterol and Statins (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
  • Statins: Are These Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Right for You? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish

Diagnosis and Tests

Related Issues

  • Are You Taking the Right Treatment for Your High Cholesterol? (Consumer Reports)
  • Controlling Cholesterol with Statins (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
  • Rhabdomyolysis from Statins: What's the Risk? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Statin Side Effects: Weigh the Benefits and Risks (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Statins and Risk of New-Onset Diabetes Mellitus (American Heart Association)
  • Statins: Do They Cause ALS? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish

Statistics and Research

  • Could Taking Statins Prevent Dementia, Disability? (National Institute on Aging)

Clinical Trials

  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

  • Article: Safety and efficacy of a cardiovascular polypill in people at high...
  • Article: The prognosis of lipid reprogramming with the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, rosuvastatin,...
  • Article: The importance of methods for site performance evaluation in REPRIEVE, a...
  • Statins -- see more articles

Find an Expert

  • American Heart Association
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.