DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) 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 (CVD). 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 (secondary prevention). The evidence is weaker that statins are effective for those with elevated cholesterol levels but without CVD (primary prevention). Side effects of statins include muscle pain, increased risk of diabetes and abnormalities in liver enzyme tests.
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