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Drugs. 1998 Oct;56(4):517-22.

Are there potential non-lipid-lowering uses of statins?

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Department of Nephrology, University Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham, England.


Recent clinical trials have demonstrated beyond doubt that statins are effective in the prevention of acute coronary events. Critical analysis of these studies suggests that the benefits of statin therapy cannot be fully explained on the basis of reductions in plasma cholesterol levels. Accumulating knowledge of the actions of these drugs shows that they may prevent several processes that eventually lead to plaque rupture and the development of occlusive thrombosis, the basis of acute coronary events. Hence, statins may correct endothelial dysfunction (thus protecting against ischaemic injury), stabilise existing plaques and modify the coagulation pathway, thereby reducing the likelihood of a sudden vascular event. At a cellular level, these drugs inhibit the synthesis not just of cholesterol, but of other compounds important in cell proliferation. Antiproliferative effects have been demonstrated in vitro and may broaden the applications of statins to the treatment of noncardiovascular diseases. Finally, preliminary clinical studies indicate that as a result of immunosuppressive actions, statins may reduce the incidence of rejection following organ transplantation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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