Clinical pharmacology of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors

Life Sci. 1999;65(13):1329-37. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(99)00199-x.


In this article, de novo cholesterol synthesis, its inhibition by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and clinical pharmacology aspects of the statins have been reviewed. Statins are available in both active and pro-drug forms. Their affinity to bind and subsequently to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase activity is approximately 3 orders of magnitude higher than that of natural substrate (HMG-CoA). All members of this group of lipid-lowering agents are, to a varying degree, absorbed from the gut. However, their bioavailability depends on their lipophobicity and their concomitant use with meals. The interaction between HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and other lipid-lowering agents has been reviewed in more detail. One major side-effect of lipid-lowering combination therapy is myopathy with or without rhabdomyolysis. Combination of statins with gemfibrozil seems to increase risk of this adverse event, particularly in patients with renal impairment, more than combination with other lipid-lowering agents. Combination therapy with other agents including anticoagulants, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, oral hypoglycemic and antifungal agents as well as beta-blockers, H2 blockers, cyclosporine and digoxin has been also reviewed. The pleiotropic non-lipid lowering properties of statins and their effects on the quality of lipoprotein particles, the activities of cholesteryl ester transfer protein and lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase as well as their possible synergistic effects with n-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, vitamin E and aspirin in reducing cardiovascular events warrant further investigation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Availability
  • Contraindications
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors