The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
Lipid-Lowering Drugs
The full article is available to subscribers Subscriber Login   
Revised 11/2/2016: In the Fibric Acid Derivatives section, the last sentence in the Efficacy paragraph has been changed to "...raise HDL-C levels." (instead of "...raise LDL-C levels.").

11/30/16: Please see addendum.

Lipid-lowering drugs should be taken indefinitely; when they are stopped, plasma lipoproteins return to pretreatment levels. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) remain the drugs of choice for treatment of most patients who require lipid-lowering therapy.

STATINS — Statins block the rate-limiting step in cholesterol synthesis. The subsequent reduction in hepatic cholesterol causes upregulation of lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL) receptors, increasing uptake and clearance of LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) from the blood. Statins also decrease very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) and triglyceride levels and modestly increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Other direct effects of statins or indirect effects of lowering cholesterol include improved endothelial function, decreased platelet aggregation, and reduced inflammation. Statins also decrease serum concentrations of C-reactive protein, a marker ... more      

The Medical Letter is a subscriber-funded nonprofit organization that publishes critical appraisals of new prescription drugs and comparative reviews of drugs for common diseases.

Would you like to read the rest of this article?  Gain access below.

Subscriptions to The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics include:
  • Print version published and mailed biweekly (26 issues/year)
  • Unlimited online access to current and past issues (1988 - present)
  • Mobile App for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire
  • FREE online per issue CME/CE
Purchase this article:
Title: Lipid-Lowering Drugs
Article code: 1506a
 Electronic, downloadable article - $45
Gain access through your organization
Ask your librarian to consider an Institutional Subscription to The Medical Letter.
Recommend to your librarian