Rosuvastatin

Get lower cholesterol with Rousuvastatin (generic Crestor)

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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Information

Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD

Information last reviewed 11/08/19

About

What is Rosuvastatin?

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 a prior stroke or have been diagnosed with heart disease.

What is Rosuvastatin used for?

Rosuvastatin, along with Atorvastatin, Pravastatin and Simvastatin, is a “statin” medication. It works by reducing the level of  LDL (bad cholesterol), and increasing the level of HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood.

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.          

How does Rosuvastatin work?

Rosuvastatin, similar to all the Statin medications, works by decreasing the liver’s ability to process and make more cholesterol. It works by blocking a naturally occurring enzyme in the body named HMG-CoA Reductase. Rosuvastatin and other statins have also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body including in blood vessels. 

How effective is Rosuvastatin?

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.  

Ingredients

Active ingredients

Each tablet contains either 5, 10, 20, or 40 mg of Rosuvastatin.

Inactive ingredients

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.

Dosage

Rosuvastatin Dosage

Physicians may prescribe either “low intensity” or “high intensity” Rosuvastatin.

  • Low intensity Rosuvastatin is 5mg or 10mg.
  • High intensity Rosuvastatin is 20mg or 40mg.

Depending on risk factors, a patient may be prescribed either a low intensity or high intensity dose. Some reasons why a doctor would prescribe high intensity dosing include: prior heart attack or stroke, or an LDL level which did not decrease to the target goal after therapy with low intensity Rosuvastatin.

 

When to take 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.

How to stop taking Rosuvastatin?

Before you stop taking Rosuvastatin, consult with your doctor.  If side effects are a concern, your doctor may be able to switch you to a different statin medication.

What should I do if I miss a dose of Rosuvastatin?

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 time. You should not “double-up” to make up for the missed dose.

Side Effects

What are the side effects of Rosuvastatin?

Some of the most common side effects are

  • Muscle aches (up to 13%)
  • Headache (6-9%),
  • Dizziness (4%)
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint pains.

In rare cases, Rosuvastatin may cause abnormal liver tests and an 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.

Contraindications to Rosuvastatin

  • Active liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Muscle disease or myopathy
  • Allergic reaction to Rosuvastatin in the past
  • If you have had an adverse reaction to a statin other than Rosuvastatin, tell your doctor as you may need to avoid this medication. 

Rosuvastatin and Medication Interactions

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.

What to do if you experience side effects with Rosuvastatin?

For mild side effects such as stomach upset, headache, or muscle aches consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

Seek immediate medical attention for any of the following more severe side effects:

  • Lack of energy or extreme fatigue
  • Fever
  • Jaundice: yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Dark or foamy urine
  • Pain in the right upper abdomen (liver)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Severe itching
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers or toes

Is Rosuvastatin safe in pregnancy?

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.

Is Rosuvastatin safe for breastfeeding?

Due to Rosuvastatin being present in breast milk, use while breastfeeding is not allowed by the manufacturer.

Treatment Options

What is the difference between Crestor and Rosuvastatin?

Rosuvastatin is the generic version of Crestor.

What is the difference between Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin?

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.

Q&A

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

  1. Crestor (rosuvastatin) [prescribing information]. Wilmington, DE: AstraZeneca; November 2018.
  2. Crestor (rosuvastatin) [product monograph]. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: AstraZeneca Canada Inc; March 2017.
  3. Bibbins-Domingo K, Grossman DC, Curry, SJ, et al; US Preventive Services Task Force. Statin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016;316(19):1997-2007. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.15450. 
  4. Mercado C, DeSimone AK, Odom E, Gillespie C, Ayala C, Loustalot F. Prevalence of cholesterol treatment eligibility and medication use among adults—United States, 2005–2012. 2015;64(47):1305–11.

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