Inhibitors of the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, commonly known as statins, are widely used in both primary and secondary prevention of occlusive cardiovascular disease. Statins are effective not only in improving total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations in blood but also in decreasing morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular diseases resulting from underlying atheroma. There is, however, evidence that statins are underutilized in elderly patients, possibly due to concerns about safety/tolerability issues or potential drug interactions, including interactions with other lipid-modifying medications, or both. In this review, we summarize the major adverse events associated with statin use, with particular reference to the elderly patient, including factors which might increase the risk of adverse effects. Potential drug interactions between statins and other lipid-modifying medications including fibrates, ezetimibe, nicotinic acid, bile acid sequestrants and omega-3-acid ethyl esters (fish oils) are specifically discussed. Clinical management strategies to avoid these drug interactions are outlined.