Crestor is a tablet used in the treatment of high cholesterol. Manufactured by AstraZeneca, this branded medicine is administered as a single daily dose which will in most cases be rather minimal in the beginning of the treatment, only to be gradually increased over the period of several weeks until the medicine reaches its maximum effectiveness.
What’s on this page?
This branded high cholesterol medication is highly adept at reducing the risk of heart diseases associated with high cholesterol. And with just one tablet daily, it can significantly contribute to your health in a relatively short period of time when the nature of the condition is taken into consideration.
High cholesterol: A general introduction
High cholesterol is a medical condition diagnosed when the fats produced by the liver reach such a high concentration in the blood that they start contributing to the narrowing of the arteries. While this will not cause any immediately noticeable physical symptoms, the condition will significantly increase the risk of other, rather serious complications including various illnesses of the cardiovascular system, heart attack and stroke.
High cholesterol is often described as a ‘disease of the civilisation’, meaning that the lifestyle factors characteristic of a life of a modern man are viewed by the medical experts as most prominent risk factors. These include unhealthy diet rich in saturated fats, lack of physical activity, excessive consumption of alcohol or smoking. In addition to this, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, liver or kidney problems are also known to contribute to the onset of high cholesterol.
However, as is the case with numerous other medical conditions, high cholesterol also seems to be most directly connected to genetic factors and hence it is hereditary in a way. What this means is that persons with a family history of cardiovascular diseases will be at a higher risk at developing high cholesterol, but if they actively eliminate harmful lifestyle practices, they can lead healthy lives and never actually develop this condition.
What is cholesterol? What good and bad cholesterol mean?
But, let’s take a step back – if high cholesterol is caused by excess of fats produced by the liver, why that process occurs in the first place?
The liver produces numerous types of fats, called lipids, which are all essential for the proper functioning of various bodily functions. From the liver, these lipids are carried throughout the bloodstream via specialised protein – and during the periods of the transport, this temporary fusion of lipids and proteins is called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins come in two types, high and low density, better known among the laymen as good and bad cholesterol.
Low density lipoproteins (LDLs) also known as bad cholesterol, actually also have their specific function in the body – they play a crucial role in transporting the essential fats from the liver to the cells that need them. However, when present in excessive amounts, these lipoproteins will begin accumulating in the arterial walls, gradually increasing the risks of the onset of the condition.
High cholesterol treatment
Once high cholesterol is diagnosed, the doctor will advise you on how you should proceed. Of course, one of the first steps will be to deal with your harmful habits including:
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting your alcohol consumption
- Changing your dietary habits
- Incorporating light exercise into your daily routine
However, once cholesterol has already started accumulating in the arteries, just lifestyle changes won’t be enough to ensure your health. So, the doctor will also recommend suitable prescription medications. Statins are very commonly prescribed due to their high efficiency and moderately low risk of side effects (which of course aren’t completely absent).
Crestor as high cholesterol treatment
Crestor also belongs to a category of pharmaceutical compounds known as statins thanks to its active ingredient rosuvastatin calcium. Statins are among the most commonly prescribed high cholesterol medicines and they also include drugs such as Simvastatin or Lipitor. This medicine helps lower the amount of cholesterol by directly decreasing its production in the liver. More specifically, it interferes with a specialized enzyme in the liver facilitating the production of LDLs.1
Crestor 5mg dosage
Crestor 5mg is the lowest available dose that is usually issued at the very beginning of the treatment if the patient is:
- Of Asian descent2
- Is older than 70
- Has moderate kidney problems
- Is at high risk of side effects
For most patients, 10mg will be the starting dosage of Crestor. However, keep in mind that the exact dose will be determined by numerous factors, most importantly the exact cholesterol level and the imminent risk of heart attack or stroke. So, even those that start with Crestor 5mg might be advised to switch to 10mg dose rather quickly if the risk of complications has been discovered.
Crestor 20mg is almost never prescribed as a starting dose. Before doctor recommends an increase to this dosage, the treatment with lower dose is monitored for at least four weeks. If the effectiveness is not satisfying, then Crestor 20mg will be recommended.
The maximum available dose, Crestor 40mg is issued to patients who are determined to be at a very high risk of heart attack or stroke and which haven’t responded well to the treatment with lower doses.
How is Crestor used?
In order to give you the general idea of how Crestor treatment might look like for you, here we will provide you with a simplified guide to using this medicine. Keep in mind that these are not to be taken as official directions – for a comprehensive guide, please refer to the official patient leaflet that is issued within every pack of Crestor. Additionally, your prescriber will instruct you on how to properly use this medicine, thus ensuring the optimal results and minimising the risk of side effects.
- Always take exactly as prescribed
- The tablets are administered once daily
- Take each pill whole with water (do not bite, cut or chew)
- Ideally, take Crestor at the same time each day
- It can be administered either with or without food
- While using this medicine, you will have to check your cholesterol levels regularly
- Never exceed the prescribed dose
- If you miss a dose, do not try to compensate, just continue the course as normal
Are there any Crestor side effects?
Prior to commencing Crestor treatment, you should get familiar with possible side effects – and this is true for all prescription medicines. This way, you can notice and identify the side effects as soon as they manifest, if they manifest at all, so you can contact the doctor if needed or alternatively, avoid unnecessary stress caused by uncomfortable, yet completely harmless side effects.
It is important to get immediate medical attention if you notice any signs and symptoms indicative of an allergic reaction, if you experience abnormal muscular aches or pains which linger on for prolonged periods of time.
If we take into account the frequency of occurrence of different side effects, we can describe them in the following manner:
|Frequency of occurrence||Side effects|
|Common (1 in 10 users)||Headache, stomach pain, constipation, feeling sick, muscular pain, weakness, dizziness, increased protein concentration in the urine|
|Uncommon (1 in 100 users)||Rash, itching and other skin problems
|Rare (1 in 1000 users)||Pancreas inflammation, increased presence of liver enzymes in the blood, allergic reaction, muscle damage|
|Very rare (1 in 10.000 users)||Jaundice, itching, hepatitis, blood in the urine, numbness, joint pain, loss of memory, breast enlargement in men|
Keep in mind that this is not a full list of Crestor side effects – for a more comprehensive overview, please refer to the official patient information leaflet.
Crestor contraindications: Is Crestor safe for me?
While Crestor is moderately safe as numerous other medications belonging to the statin class of pharmaceutical compounds, there are some situations when the doctor might advise against using it.
This can be the case, among other things, if you are currently taking any of the following medicines:
- Other statins
- Fusidic acid
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
In addition to this, there are certain medical conditions that might make Crestor unsafe for you. These include:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Muscle pains or aches
- Thyroid gland problems
- Lactose intolerance
Finally, Crestor should never be used by women who are pregnant, are trying to become pregnant or are currently breastfeeding.