What is the problem with Crestor?

The problem is that the FDA approved Crestor even though it has been proven more problematic than other kinds of cholesterol lowering statins.

There are currently six statin drugs on the market:

  1. Lipitor (atorvastatin)
  2. Lescol (fluvastatin)
  3. Mevacor (lovastatin)
  4. Pravachol (pravastatin)
  5. Zocor (simvastatin)
  6. Crestor (rosuvastatin)

A seventh statin, cerivastatin (Baycol) was removed from the market in 2001 because of adverse reactions and serious side effects, including rhabdomyolysis.

Statins work by reducing production of cholesterol in the liver and by increasing the ability of the liver to remove LDL (bad) cholesterol from the blood. Statins reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood and can reduce triglyceride levels and increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

As the newest statin, Crestor has been marketed as a “super-statin” because AstraZeneca claims it reduces LDL cholesterol to a greater degree than the other approved statin drugs.

The approval of Crestor is controversial because it follows the recall of Bayer's Baycol which was also a super-statin. In 2001, Baycol was removed from the market because it caused life threatening side effects like rhabdomyolysis, a fatal muscle disorder. Side effects were reported with Crestor that appeared reminiscent of the Baycol experience. Cases of rhabdomyolysis were seen with Crestor during drug trials, particularly with the 80 mg. dose.

Crestor was approved by the FDA in August 2003 for the 5, 10, 20, and 40 mg doses, but not the 80 mg dosage. In recent months there have been reports of serious side effects resulting from use of Crestor, such as:

The FDA already has records of seven patients with rhabdomyolysis, including a 39-year-old American who died after using a 20-mg dose and a second death from an unspecified country, four patients with acute kidney failure, including a 79-year-old American man who died, plus five additional patients with kidney damage. Crestor interacted dangerously with the blood-thinner Coumadin, commonly used by heart-disease patients; one Crestor-Coumadin interaction resulted in a hemorrhage. Some studies show that only one-tenth of the actual cases are reported to the FDA.

The fact that so few patients on the 20 or 40 mg. doses took the drug for a sufficient period of time to have had a chance to develop rhabdomyolysis seems to have imparted a false sense of security about the safety of these doses concerning muscle toxicity. It is certainly possible that the FDA will require that Crestor be removed from the market after further damage to patients occur.

Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially fatal condition where serious muscle damage occurs. Those who have taken Crestor should immediately consult their doctors.

Symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include:

  • muscle pain;
  • muscle weakness;
  • fever;
  • fatigue;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • dark urine

Although rhabdomyolysis generally results in muscle pain, the condition can exist even in patients who experience no pain.

This condition causes muscle protein and myoglobin to be released into the blood stream and cam damage the kidneys, resulting in the failure of the organ.

Rhabdomyolysis can be diagnosed through blood tests. If you or a loved one has used Crestor, promptly consult your doctor for an evaluation.

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