Recent Blog Articles

Heart Health

Beyond the coronary arteries: Possible benefits of statin drugs Part II: Specific syndromes

May 1, 2011

The statins are the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States. That's no surprise, since heart disease is America's leading cause of death, and the statins can reduce the risk of heart attacks and other major cardiac events by up to 37%, with the greatest benefit going to the men at highest risk.

All seven statin drugs act in the same way, by inhibiting the liver enzyme that's responsible for cholesterol production; when the enzyme is blocked, liver cells make less cholesterol, and blood levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol fall. But the drugs have another benefit: as cholesterol production falls, the liver takes up more cholesterol from the blood, so blood levels fall even further. The statins produce only small elevations in HDL ("good") cholesterol, and only two, atorvastatin (Lipitor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor), lower triglycerides to an important degree.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.