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Statin–Drug Interactions: Not a Class Effect

Frishman, William H. MD*; Horn, John PharmD

doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e31817532db
Review Article

Statins are one of the most well-studied class of drugs and the benefits of statins in the treatment and prevention of both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease are well documented. Statin monotherapy is safe and well tolerated, with a low frequency of adverse events. However, conditions that raise the plasma concentrations of statins, such as high doses or combination therapy, can increase the potential risk of adverse events. The cataloging of drug interactions within scientific journals and improvements in our understanding of drug metabolism mean that statin–drug interactions are an avoidable problem. However, large numbers of patients are still prescribed interacting medications, and approximately 50% of serious adverse events related to statin therapy are due to drug–drug interactions. Within the statin class of drugs, each agent has a unique pharmacokinetic profile that can make one statin more suitable than another for a particular treatment regimen or patient group. Careful consideration of the lipid lowering efficacy and also the risk profile for drug–drug interactions should be taken before initiating patients on statin therapy, or switching patients between different drugs of the statin class.

From the *Department of Medicine, New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York; and †Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Correspondence: William H. Frishman, MD, New York Medical College, Munger Pavilion, Room 263, Valhalla, NY 10595. E-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.