Purpose of reviewDespite improvements in the early management of acute coronary syndromes, the risk of major cardiovascular complications remains high. Lipid-modifying treatment with statins has the potential to further improve outcomes through improved endothelial function, antithrombotic and anti inflammatory actions. Statins are of proven benefit in patients with stable coronary heart disease. There has been speculation on potential mechanisms of benefit but, until recently, little data on the efficacy and safety of statins in the acute setting. Recent observational studies and randomized trials have addressed some of the questions regarding early initiation of statins in acute coronary syndromes.Recent findingsRecent observational and randomized trials have shown that early commencement of statins in acute coronary syndromes is safe as early as 6 hours after the event and is likely to improve longer-term compliance. The current data are not sufficient to draw conclusions about the efficacy of statins early in the course of acute coronary syndromes.SummaryCurrent management for acute coronary syndromes should include the commencement of statin therapy during initial hospital admission. This recommendation is based on safety and compliance data. More randomized trial evidence is required to determine whether early initiation will produce better outcomes than later initiation after an acute coronary event.