The present review considers the potential pleiotropic effects of statins and the evidence indicative of the "real world" benefit from these effects in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some of these cholesterol-independent effects of statins involve improved endothelial function, stability of atherosclerotic plaques, attenuation of oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as inhibition of the thrombogenic response. Clinical evidence from early statin administration in acute coronary syndromes and in revascularisation procedures is reported. Moreover, the "metabolic" effects of statin treatment, such as renal function improvement and reduction in serum uric acid levels, in patients with stable coronary heart disease are discussed. Evidence suggests that in high CVD risk patient groups pleiotropic effects of statins may play a role in the reduction of morbidity and mortality. However, this concept requires proof in appropriately designed trials that will include clinically relevant end points in order to set specific targets in new CVD-related biomarkers, in addition to lipid levels, that should be used to fully assess the statin contribution to CVD treatment.