PLEIOTROPIC EFFECTS OF STATINS AND CARDIOVASCULAR BENEFITS
Pleiotropic effects of a drug are other actions than those for which the drug was specially designed. These effects may be related or unrelated to the primary mechanism of action of the drug, and they are usually unanticipated.
Pleiotropic effects may be undesirable (such as side effects or toxicity), or beneficial, as is especially the case with statins. Pleiotropic effects of statins include improvement of endothelial dysfunction, increased nitric oxide bioavailability, antioxidant properties, inhibition of inflammatory responses, and stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques. These and several other emergent properties could act in concert with the potent low-density lipoprotein cholesterol-lowering effects of statins to exert early as well as lasting cardiovascular protective effects. Understanding the pleiotropic effects of statins is important to optimize their use in treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.