The study involved participation of 18.000 people who had experienced heart attacks or episodes of chest pain so severe they went to a hospital. Those taking the statin, simvastatin, had an average LDL of 69, and those taking simvastatin and the other drug, ezetimibe, or Zetia, in a combination pill sold as Vytorin, had an average LDL of 54. Statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are a class of drugs. inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol. A number of statins are on the market: atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
Atorvastatin became the best-selling pharmaceutical in history by 2003. Research continues into other areas where specific statins also appear to have a favorable effect, including dementia, lung cancer, nuclear cataracts, hypertension and prostate cancer.