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What is Crestor (rosuvastatin)?

Crestor (rosuvastatin) is a prescription medication used to treat high cholesterol and other health conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs called statins.

Rosuvastatin is available as a generic drug and is also sold under the brand name Crestor (and others). Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version of the drug.

What is Crestor used to treat?

You can take Crestor to lower your cholesterol levels.

As a statin drug, Crestor belongs to a class of medications that work by limiting cholesterol production in the liver. If your cholesterol levels are too high, you are at increased risk of serious health problems, including stroke and heart disease.

Generally, doctors prescribe Crestor treat high cholesterol and reduce your risk of:

  • Heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Cardiovascular death in people with coronary heart disease

Crestor can also slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and improve your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.

How do you take Crestor?

Crestor tablets are available in 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, or 40mg¹ doses. Your doctor will likely recommend a starting dose of 10–20mg per day.¹

Take the tablets once per day with or without food.

Don’t start or stop taking Crestor without your doctor’s advice, and follow your prescription instructions carefully.

Seeing results

Crestor works best alongside a healthy lifestyle, which means eating a low-fat diet, getting regular exercise, and not smoking.

Crestor isn’t suitable for everyone. The drug can cause serious side effects in some people, including liver damage, muscle problems, and an increased risk of diabetes. If you have any concerns about these risks, talk to your doctor before taking Crestor.

If you take Crestor as prescribed and make changes to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Potential side effects of Crestor

Like all medications, Crestor can cause side effects. The most common side effects are:

These side effects are usually mild and go away without treatment, or when you stop taking the medication. However, Crestor can cause more serious complications, including liver damage, acute pancreatitis, kidney problems, lung damage, and diabetes.

Contact your doctor right away if you develop any of these more serious side effects:²

  • Muscle problems (weakness, cramps, pain, or tenderness)

  • Stomach pain

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Cough and shortness of breath

  • Yellow skin or whites of eyes (jaundice)

Long-term use of Crestor

Crestor is designed for long-term use. Research³ suggests taking the drug long-term can effectively treat high cholesterol.

Missed doses

Take a missed dose as soon as possible, but if it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip it and resume your regular schedule. Never take two doses at once.

Overdoses

Seek medical help right away if you take too much Crestor. Symptoms of a Crestor overdose may include:

  • Feeling very tired

  • Muscle pain or weakness

  • Upper stomach pain that may spread to the back

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

  • Dark urine

  • Clay-colored stools

What to discuss with your doctor before taking Crestor

Crestor is a prescription medication. Your doctor will only prescribe it if they think it’s a suitable medication for you.

Before taking Crestor, discuss these things with your doctor:

  • Medical history: Be sure to tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have or had in the past. This includes kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, or anything else that might affect how Crestor works in your body.

  • Other medications you are taking: Some drugs interact with Crestor and cause complications. Tell your doctor if you’re taking other medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

  • Allergies: Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.

  • Pregnancy: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, you should let your doctor know. Crestor is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

Stopping Crestor

When you stop taking Crestor, you are unlikely to experience any withdrawal symptoms. However, you may have an increased risk of muscle problems if you stop taking Crestor suddenly.

Don’t stop taking Crestor unless your doctor tells you to do so.

Crestor and pregnancy

Crestor may harm an unborn baby. You should not take this medicine if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. If you take Crestor during pregnancy, your baby may develop serious birth defects.

Stop taking Crestor and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment.

Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine.

Crestor can pass into breast milk, but it is unlikely to harm⁴ your baby. Get your doctor’s advice if you are considering taking Crestor while breastfeeding, as they may advise against it.

Interactions

Crestor is metabolized in the liver, so it may interact with other drugs that are also metabolized in this way.

Crestor may interact with:

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin is a blood thinner that is metabolized by the liver’s CYP 450 system — the same system that metabolizes Crestor.

Taking Crestor with warfarin can increase its blood-thinning effects, which could lead to bleeding. You should have your blood clotting time (INR) monitored closely if you're taking these two drugs together.

Other statins

Statins, including rosuvastatin, are a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that work by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme.

Taking Crestor with another statin can increase the risk of side effects, such as muscle pain and weakness.

Alcohol

Alcohol can increase the risk of liver damage from Crestor. You should limit your alcohol intake while taking this medication.

Birth control pills

Estrogen-containing birth control pills can increase the level of Crestor in your blood, which could raise your risk of side effects.

Other cholesterol-lowering drugs

Taking Crestor with other cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as ezetimibe (Zetia) or niacin, can increase the risk of side effects from these drugs.

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium channel blockers are a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain).

Taking Crestor with a calcium channel blocker can increase the level of Crestor in your blood, increasing your risk of side effects.

Antacids

Antacids can decrease the absorption of Crestor into your bloodstream, so you should only take them at least two hours before or after you take Crestor.

Herbal supplements

Herbal supplements that contain St. John's wort can increase the breakdown of Crestor in your liver. Don’t start taking any new supplements without first speaking to your doctor.

Grapefruit juice

Grapefruit juice⁵ contains a chemical that inhibits an enzyme in the gut that normally breaks down Crestor. This can lead to higher blood levels of Crestor and increase the risk of side effects.

Your doctor may recommend avoiding grapefruit juice while you take Crestor.

Allergy information

Crestor may cause a serious allergic reaction.

If you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction while taking Crestor, stop taking it and seek emergency medical help right away. Symptoms include:

  • Severe rash

  • Itching

  • Hives

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Swelling of your face, lips, or tongue

Clinical trial history

In 2010, AstraZeneca announced⁶ that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Crestor to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack, and the need for arterial revascularization procedures in people with increased risk of cardiovascular disease without clinical evidence of coronary heart disease.

The FDA approval was based on findings from the JUPITER⁷ trial, which examined the effect of Crestor on lowering major cardiovascular events in an unstudied population when given in 20mg doses.

Compared to placebo, Crestor was found to decrease the risk of heart attack by 54%, stroke by 48%, and the need for arterial revascularization by 46%.

Tips and advice for taking Crestor

Here are some tips to improve your experience and keep you safe when taking Crestor:

  • Take Crestor exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

  • Don’t take more or less than your doctor instructed.

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you remember, but if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular schedule.

  • Never take two doses at once. If you think you or someone else has taken too much Crestor, seek urgent medical assistance.

  • Take the medication with or without food. Taking Crestor with food may help if you experience nausea or stomach pain after taking a dose.

  • Keep all appointments with your doctor so they can monitor your progress.

  • Crestor may interact with other medications or supplements, so tell your doctor about everything you are taking or plan to take.

  • Don’t stop taking Crestor without first talking to your doctor.

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Disclaimer

Here at HealthMatch, we’ve done our best to ensure that the information provided in this article is helpful, up to date, and, most importantly, accurate.

However, we can’t replace the one-to-one advice of a qualified medical practitioner or outline all of the possible risks associated with this particular drug and your circumstances.

It is therefore important for you to note that the information contained in this article does not constitute professional medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or recommendation of treatment and is not intended to, nor should be used to, replace professional medical advice. This article may not always be up to date and is not exhaustive of all of the risks and considerations relevant to this particular drug. In no circumstances should this article be relied upon without independent consideration and confirmation by a qualified medical practitioner.

Your doctor will be able to explain all possible uses, dosages, precautions, interactions with other drugs, and other potential adverse effects, and you should always talk to them about any kind of medication you are taking, thinking about taking or wanting to stop taking.

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