Questions raised about the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin

18 March 2015        

Statins

A doctor has questioned the use of the cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin (Crestor).

Writing in the BMJ, Dr Sidney Wolfe says that evidence of its health benefits has always been weak and there is now growing evidence that the drug carries a higher risk of harmful side effects, such as developing diabetes.

Rosuvastatin, the newest and most powerful of all the statins, is not widely prescribed in the UK, where simvastatin and atorvastatin are the most commonly prescribed brand of statins.

Professor Peter Weissberg, our Medical Director, said: “This opinion piece raises more questions about pharmaceutical marketing and prescribing practices in the USA, than the safety and use of statins in general.

“Rosuvastatin is much more expensive than other statins and is one of the least commonly prescribed statins in the UK. 

“It is generally prescribed for a small number of people at high risk of a heart attack or stroke and who either cannot tolerate the older statins or have not had the desired reduction in cholesterol levels on them.

“Patients who are taking rosuvastatin should not stop taking it. They are on it for a very good reason.”