Although large-scale statin trials have demonstrated significant reductions in cardiovascular risk, there are many patients who have a cardiovascular event despite receiving statin therapy. There is increasing evidence that larger reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) are associated with greater improvements in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, which highlights the need for more efficacious statins. This article will review the lipid-altering effects of two new statins, rosuvastatin and pitavastatin. Rosuvastatin represents an advance in the pharmacological and clinical properties of other available agents. The large LDL-C reductions observed with rosuvastatin, even at the start dose of 10 mg and in patients switched from other statins to rosuvastatin 10 mg, should help to improve goal attainment, while reducing the need for dose titration. The ability of rosuvastatin to improve other elements of the lipid profile, such as high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides and non-HDL-C, may be of utility in patients with diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Increases in HDL-C, along with the greater efficacy of rosuvastatin for reducing LDL-C and non-HDL-C, may obviate the need for combination therapy. Results of a number of outcome studies with rosuvastatin are expected over the next 5 years, which will contribute to the evidence base for statin therapy and cardiovascular disease prevention.