Extensive investigation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, also known as statins, has established not only the profound lipid-lowering effects of these agents, but it has also confirmed the role of lipid-lowering therapy, in general, in the prevention of acute coronary events. The early benefit of statins demonstrated in primary- and secondary-prevention trials suggested mechanisms of action beyond lipid lowering, and prompted further investigation into their effects on the pathophysiology of atherosclerotic disease. Growing evidence points to the ability of statins to alter the structure of plaques and reduce inflammatory activity, making plaques more stable and less vulnerable to rupture. Statins have also been shown to restore impaired endothelial function.
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© 2001 Excerpta Medica Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.