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Int J Cardiol. 2006 Apr 28;109(1):7-15. Epub 2005 Jul 28.

Effects of statins beyond lipid lowering: potential for clinical benefits.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, USA.



The role of statin drugs in the reduction of serum lipids has been well documented. More recently, evidence suggesting that statins may positively impact many organ systems and disease states independent of lipid reduction has emerged. The term "pleiotropic effects" has been used to refer to these properties. We reviewed the evidence exploring such potential effects.


A search of the MEDLINE database was conducted for articles published between 1985 to 2005 on the pleiotropic and the lipid-lowering independent effects of statin drugs. The search terms "statin", "HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor", "pleiotropic effects", and "inflammation" were used. English language articles were selected for inclusion along with selected cross-references.


Numerous animal and clinical studies support the presence of a spectrum of beneficial effects for statins that are independent of their lipid-lowering properties. These effects are mediated by a variety of mechanisms and they suggest that the therapeutic role of statins may expand.


Statins have shown great promise beyond their lipid-lowering effects. Ongoing and future studies will help to further clarify the potential clinical impact of these "pleiotropic effects".

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