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Int J Cardiol. 2002 Nov;86(1):5-18.

Beyond lipid lowering: the role of statins in vascular protection.

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Vascular Medicine Research, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 65 Landsdowne Street, Room 275, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The introduction of the hydroxy methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) in 1987 was a major advance in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Several landmark clinical trials have demonstrated the benefit of lipid lowering with statins for the primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD), namely The Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S), Cholesterol And Recurrent Events (CARE), Long-term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischemic Disease (LIPID), West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS) and Air Force/Texas Coronary Atherosclerosis Prevention Study (AFCAPS/TexCAPS). Although it is widely accepted that the majority of clinical benefit obtained with statins is a direct result of their lipid-lowering properties, these agents appear to display additional cholesterol-independent or pleiotropic effects on various aspects of cardiovascular disease, including improving endothelial function, decreasing vascular inflammation and enhancing plaque stability. Although the full impact of statin therapy on each of these processes is not fully understood, ongoing studies with current and new statins are likely to shed further light on the potential cholesterol-independent benefits of these agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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