Statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering medications that inhibit 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, are commonly administered to treat atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Statin use may expand considerably given its potential for treating an array of cholesterol-independent diseases. However, the lack of conclusive evidence supporting these emerging therapeutic uses of statins brings to the fore a number of unanswered questions including uncertainties regarding patient-to-patient variability in response to statins, the most appropriate statin to be used for the desired effect, and the efficacy of statins in treating cholesterol-independent diseases. In this review, the adverse effects, costs, and drug–drug and drug–food interactions associated with statin use are presented. Furthermore, we discuss the pleiotropic effects associated with statins with regard to the onset and progression of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, strokes, bacterial infections, and human immunodeficiency virus. Understanding these issues will improve the prognosis of patients who are administered statins and potentially expand our ability to treat a wide variety of diseases.

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Published in Lipid Insights, v. 9, p. 13-29.

© the authors, publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Limited.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 3.0 License.

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