Pleiotropic Effects of Statins-What is their Clinical Significance?

Author(s): Walter F Riesen

Pleiotropic effects are effects not related to the primary effect of drugs. Statins, beside their primary effect, which is LDL-lowering, have several pleiotropic effects, such as anti-inflammation, anti-thrombotic effects, inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation and apoptosis, inhibition of migration and activation of macrophages. They increase blood glucose with the exception of pitavastatin. The clinical importance of these pleiotropic effects of statins however remains unclear. No matter of whether LDL-lowering was done by statins or by other means, the lowering of the cardiovascular risk is the same. The reduction in LDL-C per se is responsible for the beneficial effect. However, pleiotropic effects of statins might play a role with respect to micro vascular events. The difference in pleiotropic effects between the different statins might be a basis for a patient-oriented statin therapy.

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