In pharmacology, pleiotropy refers to a drug's actions, usually unanticipated, other than those for which the agent was specifically developed. It may include adverse effects which are detrimental ones, but is often used to denote additional beneficial effects.
For example, statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors that primarily act by decreasing cholesterol synthesis, but which are believed to have other beneficial effects, including acting as antioxidants and stabilizing atherosclerotic plaques.
- Davignon J (June 2004). "Beneficial cardiovascular pleiotropic effects of statins". Circulation. 109 (23 Suppl 1): III39–43. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000131517.20177.5a. PMID 15198965.
- Rod Flower; Humphrey P. Rang; Maureen M. Dale; Ritter, James M. (2007). Rang & Dale's pharmacology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0-443-06911-5.