Statins: Adverse reactions, oxidative stress and metabolic interactions

Aimei Liu, Qinghua Wu, Jingchao Guo, Irma Ares, José Luis Rodríguez, María Rosa Martínez-Larrañaga, Zonghui Yuan, Arturo Anadón, Xu Wang, María Aránzazu Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Statins, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, are currently the most effective lipid-lowering drugs, effectively reducing the plasma total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, while also decreasing three triacylglycerols and increasing plasma high-density lipoprotein to a certain extent. However, the excessive or long-term use of statins can cause in vitro cytotoxicity, in vivo liver injury, liver necrosis, kidney damage, and myopathy in both human beings and animals. Many studies indicate that oxidative stress is involved in the various toxicities associated with statins, and various antioxidants have been evaluated to investigate their protective roles against statin-induced liver, kidney, and muscle toxicities. Widespread attention has been given to statin-induced oxidative stress, with and without the use of other drugs. Much of the information about the mechanism for this reduction comes from cell culture and in experimental animal studies. The primary focus of this article is to summarize the research progress associated with oxidative stress as a plausible mechanism for statin-induced toxicity, as well as its metabolic interactions. This review summarizes the research conducted over the past five years into the production of reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress as a result of statin treatments, and their correlation with statin-induced toxicity and metabolism. Statin-induced metabolism involves various CYP450 enzymes, which provide potential sites for statin-induced oxidative stress, and these metabolic factors are also reviewed. The therapeutics of a variety of compounds against statin-induced organ damage based on their anti-oxidative effects is also discussed to further understand the role of oxidative stress in statin-induced toxicity. This review sheds new light on the critical roles of oxidative stress in statin-induced toxicity and prevention of this oxidative damage, as well as on the contradictions and unknowns that still exist regarding statin toxicity and the cellular effects in terms of organ injury and cell signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-84
Number of pages31
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Grants from 948 of the Ministry of Agriculture Project ( 2014-S12 ), International Cooperation Project ( 4002-122002 ), Project of Excellence FIM UHK and Project S2013/ABI-2728 (ALIBIRD-CM Program) from Comunidad de Madrid , Spain and Project Ref. RTA2015-00010-C03-03 from Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad , Spain.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Metabolic interaction
  • Oxidative stress
  • Statins
  • Toxicology


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