More than 95 million adults over the age of 20 in the United States have high cholesterol. High cholesterol has no symptoms, but increases the risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death) and stroke (the fifth leading cause of death). High cholesterol is diagnosed with a simple blood test. High cholesterol can be treated with diet, exercise, and with medication such as Rosuvastatin. Rosuvastatin is one of the frequently prescribed medications to treat high cholesterol.
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Written by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD
Information last reviewed 06/21/19
Rosuvastatin is an oral medication used to treat high cholesterol. In some cases, it may be prescribed to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially in people who have experienced prior stroke or have heart disease.
Rosuvastatin is a “statin” medication, along with others such as Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, or Simvastatin. It works by reducing the level of “bad cholesterol,” or LDL-cholesterol in the blood and increasing the “good cholesterol,” or HDL.
Rosuvastatin is one of the “high-intensity” statin medications, so it may be specifically prescribed for people at high risk of heart attack or stroke, or for people who have known heart disease.
Rosuvastatin, similar to all the Statin class of cholesterol medications, works by decreasing the liver’s ability to process and make more cholesterol. It works by blocking a naturally occuring enzyme in the body named HMG-CoA Reductase. Rosuvastatin and other statins have also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and in blood vessels.
Rosuvastatin and statins are one of the most powerful medications for lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). Reductions in LDL range from 30 to 63%. Rosuvastatin is one of the more potent statins, along with Atorvastatin.
Each tablet contains either 5, 10, 20, or 40 mg of Rosuvastatin.
Inactive ingredients may vary by manufacturer, but include microcrystalline cellulose NF, lactose monohydrate NF, tribasic calcium phosphate NF, crospovidone NF, magnesium stearate NF, hypromellose NF, triacetin NF, titanium dioxide USP, yellow ferric oxide, and red ferric oxide NF.
Physicians may prescribe either “low intensity” or “high intensity” Rosuvastatin.
Depending on risk factors, a patient may be prescribed either low intensity or high intensity. Some reasons why a doctor would prescribe high intensity dosing would be: prior heart attack or stroke, or if LDL did not decrease to the goal after therapy with low intensity Rosuvastatin.
There is no specific time of day to take Rosuvastatin. However, it should be taken at the same time each day. Take care to avoid antacids that have aluminum or magnesium in them at least two hours after taking Rosuvastatin. It can be taken with or without food.
If a dose is missed, do not double the dose, and just continue with the next day’s dose.
Take Rosuvastatin once a day at the same time each day. It can be taken with or without food. Avoid antacids for at least two hours after the dose.
Before you stop taking Rosuvastatin, consult with your doctor about stopping the medication. If side effects are a concern, your doctor may be able to switch you to a different class of “statin” medications.
If it is still within the same day, you can take the missed dose of Rosuvastatin. However, if more than 12 hours have passed since the missed dose, skip the missed dose, and resume dosing at the next scheduled dose. You should not “double-up” to make up for the missed dose.
Some of the most common side effects are
In rare cases, Rosuvastatin may cause abnormal liver tests and increase in blood sugar. You should report any side effects to your doctor to see if Rosuvastatin should be discontinued. You should avoid drinking more than three drinks of alcohol a day while taking Rosuvastatin. Rarely, Rosuvastatin can cause muscle injury and kidney injury.
Discuss all your medications with your doctor before starting Rosuvastatin. Certain medications may interact with Rosuvastatin. This includes blood thinners such as warfarin, colchicine (gout medication), ketoconazole, spironolactone, HIV medications, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and niacin.
For mild side effects such as stomach upset, headache, or muscle aches consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
For the following more severe side effects, you should seek immediate medical attention:
Rosuvastatin should not be used if pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It should be stopped immediately if an unplanned pregnancy occurs. It should be stopped at least two to three months before becoming pregnant.
Due to Rosuvastatin being present in breast milk, use while breastfeeding is not allowed by the manufacturer.
Rosuvastatin is the generic version of Crestor.
They work via the same mechanism. Both are “high intensity” statin medications and both are used to treat high cholesterol. Your doctor may prescribe either one. Sometimes, your doctor may switch you from one to the other if you experienced side effects.
Rosuvastatin was approved by the FDA in 2003.
Rosuvastatin is available as a generic medication from multiple manufacturers such as Mylan, Priva, SunPharma, Teva, AuroPharma, and others. However, the original Rosuvastatin, or Crestor, is manufactured by AstraZeneca.
The generic version of Rosuvastatin costs between $0.04 cents to $8.95 per pill. The brand name version (Crestor) costs $10.44 per pill. This is just a representative average wholesale price (AWP) and may be different at the pharmacy.
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