How dangerous are statins for our livers and kidneys?
Statins are the main drug we use in the United States to lower cholesterol. They work by blocking an enzyme that helps the body make cholesterol. Statins are metabolized in the liver and can sometimes cause damage to the liver, but this is rare (only about 1 to 1.3 % of all patients taking a statin will have significantly elevated liver function tests). A person who is taking a statin usually has his or her liver enzymes checked once a year, or sometimes more often, to determine if the liver has been damaged. Small elevations in liver enzymes are not a problem, but if the enzyme is elevated more than three times the usual level, then the statin will be discontinued. The kidneys are not usually affected by statin drugs.