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  • Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver, which produces about 70 percent of total cholesterol in the body. High cholesterol levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease. Statins have been found to prevent cardiovascular disease in those who are at high risk. The evidence is strong that statins are effective for treating CVD in the early stages of a disease. The evidence is weaker that statins are effective for those with elevated cholesterol levels but without CVD. Side effects of statins include muscle pain, increased risk of diabetes and abnormalities in liver enzyme tests. Additionally, they have rare but severe adverse effects, particularly muscle damage. As of 2010, a number of statins are on the market: atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pitavastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin. Several combination preparations of a statin and another agent, such as ezetimibe/simvastatin, are also available. The best-selling statin is atorvastatin which by 2003 became the best-selling pharmaceutical in history.

Freebase Commons Medicine /medicine

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