What Is Rosuvastatin?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Rosuvastatin is a generic medication commonly marketed under the brand name Crestor®. It is prescribed for the treatment of high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This drug is an enzyme blocker, often referred to as a statin. Rosuvastatin works by reducing the amount of cholesterol that is produced in order to help lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease.

Those taking rosuvastatin should avoid eating grapefruits or products made from the fruit.
Those taking rosuvastatin should avoid eating grapefruits or products made from the fruit.

Certain patients, particularly those of Asian descent, may need to take a lower dose initially, with dosage increases every two to four weeks as needed. Patients will usually take this tablet once daily, with or without a meal. Those who use antacids should avoid their use for at least two hours following a dose of rosuvastatin. In addition, grapefruit and grapefruit products can interact with this drug and worsen side effects.

This medicine is not intended as a replacement for healthy lifestyle changes, which can also help lower cholesterol. Patients should take the tablet and follow a healthy, low-fat diet plan as recommended by their doctor or a dietitian. A high-fat diet will interfere with the efficacy of rosuvastatin. At least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week is also essential to complement this treatment program. Patients should not consume alcohol while taking this medication.

Rosuvastatin may result in some side effects, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they are persistent or become bothersome. Patients may notice joint pain, headache, and mild dizziness. Stomach pain, mild nausea, and constipation have also been reported. Others have experienced a cough, insomnia, and depression.

Serious side effects may also occur rarely, such as muscle pain or weakness, unusual fatigue, and fever, which may be signs of a complication called rhabdomyolysis. Dark urine, jaundice, and vomiting have also occurred. Chest pain, pain in the upper right-hand side of the stomach, and loss of appetite have been reported. Other serious side effects can include numbness or tingling in the digits, problems breathing or swallowing, and unusual bleeding or bruising.

Before taking rosuvastatin, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Women who are pregnant or nursing should never use this drug. It may be contraindicated for use by those who have liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or a thyroid disorder. Those who are undergoing surgery, including dental surgery, or who have a severe infection or dehydration may need to briefly discontinue this drug. Rosuvastatin may interact with other drugs, including niacin, cyclosporine, and birth control pills.

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