Generic name: Rosuvastatin calciumBrand names: Crestor
Crestor is used to lower cholesterol levels when diet and exercise alone have failed to work. The drug can help lower the total cholesterol count as well as harmful levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It can also lower triglycerides, a type of fat that is carried through the bloodstream and can end up being stored as body fat. Sometimes Crestor may be combined with another type of cholesterol-lowering drug such as cholestyramine, colesevelam, or colestipol.
In addition, Crestor can help increase the amount of "good" cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
It's especially important to keep LDL cholesterol under control, since high levels are associated with heart disease. Federal guidelines recommend considering drug therapy when LDL levels reach 130 in people at high risk for heart disease. For people with a lower risk, the cutoff is 160. For those with little or no risk, it's 190.
Crestor is prescribed only if diet, exercise, and weight loss fail to lower your cholesterol levels. It's important to remember that Crestor is meant to supplement—not replace—these lifestyle changes. To get the full benefit of Crestor, you need to stick to the diet and exercise program prescribed by your doctor. All of these efforts to keep your cholesterol levels normal are important because they may lower your risk of heart disease.
Take Crestor once a day with or without food. You can take the drug at any time, but it's best to make a habit of taking it at the same time every day to prevent missed doses. Swallow each tablet whole with a glass of water.
If you need to take an antacid that contains aluminum and magnesium hydroxide, be sure to take it at least 2 hours after you take Crestor.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Crestor.
It's especially important to tell your doctor if you have unusual muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness that's accompanied by fever or a general feeling of illness and fatigue (see "Special warnings about Crestor").
Do not take Crestor if you have liver disease, or if you've ever had an allergic reaction to the drug.
Also, never take Crestor during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Use Crestor with caution if you have a history of liver problems, if you have any symptoms associated with liver disease, or if you drink large amounts of alcohol. In rare cases, cholesterol-lowering drugs like Crestor have caused liver damage. To guard against such problems, your doctor will perform blood tests before you start taking the drug and again after 12 weeks. As therapy continues, you may have your blood tested periodically or whenever the doctor increases your dose.
There is a small chance that Crestor may cause damage to muscle tissue. Be especially cautious if you have any predisposing risk factors for muscle damage, including kidney problems or an under-active thyroid, or if you're past middle age. Promptly report to your doctor any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you also have a fever or you just generally do not feel well.
Use Crestor with caution if you have kidney problems. Studies have shown that the drug may affect kidney function, especially at higher doses. If your doctor finds evidence of this after routine testing, you may need to have your dosage lowered.
Be sure to tell the doctor if your ancestry is Japanese or Chinese, since these groups have been known to metabolize Crestor differently than others.
Crestor may be associated with abnormal lab test results, including tests for liver and thyroid function and blood sugar levels. If you're having any lab work done, be sure to let the doctor know you're taking Crestor.
The safety and effectiveness of Crestor have not been established in children.
If you take Crestor with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Crestor with any of the following:AntacidsCholesterol-lowering drugs such as clofibrate or fenofibrateCimetidineCyclosporineGemfibrozilKetoconazole (NiacinOral contraceptivesSpironolactoneWarfarin
Crestor should never be used during pregnancy because a developing baby needs plenty of cholesterol. Your doctor will prescribe Crestor only if you are highly unlikely to become pregnant while taking Crestor. If you do become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.
Likewise, Crestor should never be used while you're breastfeeding.
The usual starting dose is 10 milligrams once a day. However, your doctor may start you at 5 milligrams per day if your LDL cholesterol level doesn't require a high dose or if you have a predisposing risk factor for muscle damage (see "Special warnings about Crestor"). If your LDL cholesterol level is above 190, the doctor may start you at 20 milligrams once a day. If this dose fails to lower your cholesterol, the doctor may increase your dose to 40 milligrams per day.
If you have a rare genetic disorder known as homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which causes unusually high cholesterol levels, the doctor will probably start you at 20 milligrams once a day. If needed, the doctor may raise the dose to a maximum of 40 milligrams a day.
If you have severe kidney problems, the recommended starting dose is 5 milligrams once a day, up to a maximum of 10 milligrams daily.
If you're taking cyclosporine, the doctor will limit your dose to 5 milligrams once a day. If you're taking the cholesterol-lowering drug gemfibrozil, your dose must be limited to 10 milligrams once a day.
Your doctor will want to test your cholesterol levels within 2 to 4 weeks after you start taking Crestor and also after any dose adjustment.
Although no specific information is available, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Crestor, seek medical attention immediately.