(STA-tin) Any of a group of drugs that lower the amount of cholesterol and certain fats in the blood. Statins inhibit a key enzyme that helps make cholesterol. Statin drugs are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
The statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) form a class of hypolipidemic agents, used as pharmaceutical agents to lower cholesterol levels in people with or at risk for cardiovascular disease. They lower cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-Co A reductase, which is the rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate pathway of cholesterol synthesis. Inhibition of this enzyme in the liver stimulates LDL receptors, resulting in an increased clearance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the bloodstream and a decrease in blood cholesterol levels.