Clinically relevant differences between the statins: implications for therapeutic selection

Am J Med. 2001 Oct 1;111(5):390-400. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(01)00870-1.


Although the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, or statins, share a common lipid-lowering effect, there are differences within this class of drugs. The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol-lowering efficacy, pharmacokinetic properties, drug-food interactions, and cost can vary widely, thus influencing the selection of a particular statin as a treatment option. The statins that produce the greatest percentage change in LDL cholesterol levels are atorvastatin and simvastatin. Atorvastatin and fluvastatin are least affected by alterations in renal function. Fewer pharmacokinetic drug interactions are likely to occur with pravastatin and fluvastatin, because they are not metabolized through the cytochrome P450 (3A4) system. The most cost-effective statins, based on cost per percentage change in LDL cholesterol levels, are fluvastatin, cerivastatin, and atorvastatin. Awareness of these differences may assist in the selection or substitution of an appropriate statin for a particular patient.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / economics
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors