Some examples of statins include brand-name medicines such as Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, Lescol and Mevacor, according to WebMD. These drugs are often the first line of treatment for people who have high cholesterol.
Statins work by decreasing low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, and triglycerides in the body, states WebMD. LDL cholesterol is a type of cholesterol that is responsible for the formation of plaque in a person's arteries, according to the American Heart Association. This causes arteries to become hard and less flexible and can lead to heart attack or stroke. Triglycerides are also associated with the hardening of a person's arteries and are how the body stores energy in the form of fat. Statins decrease both of these by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Statins have been shown to be very effective in not only lowering LDL and triglyceride levels, but also reducing the risk of heart attacks and lowering the chance of death due to heart disease, states WebMD. However, there are some shared side effects between the types of statins prescribed, which include muscle inflammation, liver damage and intestinal problems. Oftentimes, the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks of not taking them, and many side effects go away after taking the medicine for several weeks. If side effects do not go away or are severe, it is important to call a doctor before stopping any medication.