Statins are a class of drug which lower cholesterol including Simvastatin, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin and Rosuvastatin for example.

Mechanism of action

Statins inhibit an enzyme called an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which regulates cholesterol production in the liver. This prevents the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries and can hence reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease or having a stroke.

Potential side-effects

The most common side effects occur in 1/10 to 1/100 people. These symptoms include: headache, nausea, muscel and joint pain (2-10%), insomnia and an altered digestive system. Rarely statins can cause hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and rhabdomyolysis (muscle injury). You should have your liver function checked before you are commenced on a Statin and should report any muscle or joint ache to your GP.