Sometimes, regardless of your lifestyle changes, you may still have high cholesterol levels. If that's the case, it may be time to consider taking a statin.Statins are a medication prescribed to bring down elevated LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels, and they can modestly boost HDL or "good" cholesterol levels. In fact studies have shown that statins can lower LDL levels by as much as 18 to 55 percent and raise HDL levels by 5 to 15 percent.There are currently 6 approved statins and 2 approved combination medications containing statins.Approved Statins:atorvastatin (Lipitor) fluvastatin (Lescol) lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor)pravastatin (Pravachol),rosuvastatin (Crestor) simvastatin (Zocor).Approved Combination drugs:Ezetimibe-Simvastatin (Vytorin)Lovastatin-Niacin-ER (Advicor)Simvastatin-Niacin-ER (Simcor) These statins do their job by blocking an enzyme that your liver needs to make cholesterol. As a result you have less cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which reduces your risk for heart attack and stroke.Statins ALSO help reduce already built-up cholesterol deposits-called plaque-that have formed along your artery walls. This reduces inflammation, may relax blood vessels and lower high blood pressure. For many people, the benefits of statins remain only as long as they stay on the medication. All drugs have side effects, and statins are no exception. In rare cases they have been known to cause muscle pain and damage, gastrointestinal upset, and elevated liver enzymes. If you experience side effects, tell your doctor right away, but don't stop taking the medication on your own. To learn more about cholesterol and how it affects your overall health, check out other videos on this site.