|Systematic (IUPAC) name|
|Trade names||Crestor, R2|
|Pregnancy cat.||D (AU) X (US) ll|
|Legal status||Prescription Only (S4) (AU) POM (UK) ℞-only (US)|
|Excretion||Urine / Faeces|
|(what is this?)|
Rosuvastatin (marketed by AstraZeneca as Crestor, Abbott Laboratories as R2) is a member of the drug class of statins, used in combination with exercise, diet, and weight-loss to treat high cholesterol and related conditions, and to prevent cardiovascular disease. It was developed by Shionogi. Crestor is the fifth-highest selling drug in the United States, accounting for approx. $2.6 billion in sales in 2013.
- 1 Medical uses
- 2 Side effects and contraindications
- 3 Drug interactions
- 4 Structure
- 5 Mechanism of action
- 6 Indications and regulation
- 7 Marketing and competition
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The primary uses of rosuvastatin is for the treatment of dyslipidemia. It is recommended to be used only after other measures such as diet, exercise, and weight reduction have not improved cholesterol levels.
Side effects and contraindications
Side effects are uncommon. The following side effects should be reported to the prescribing doctor if they persist or get worse:
- joint pain
- memory loss or forgetfulness
The following rare side effects are more serious. Like all statins, rosuvastatin can possibly cause myopathy, rhabdomyolysis. Stop taking rosuvastatin and contact the prescribing doctor if any of these occur:
- muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
- lack of energy
- chest pain
- jaundice: yellowing of the skin or eyes
- dark colored, or foamy urine
- pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- loss of appetite
- flu-like symptoms
- sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
If any signs of an allergic reaction develop, contact an emergency medical service immediately:
- 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
Rosuvastatin has multiple contraindications, conditions that warrant withholding treatment with rosuvastatin, including hypersensitivity to rosuvastatin or any component of the formulation, active liver disease, elevation of serum transaminases, pregnancy, or breast-feeding. Rosuvastatin must not be taken while pregnant as it can cause serious harm to the unborn baby. In the case of breastfeeding, it is unknown whether rosuvastatin is passed through breastmilk, but due to the potential of disrupting the infant's lipid metabolism, patients should not breast feed while on rosuvastatin.
The following drugs can have negative interactions with rosuvastatin and should be discussed with the prescribing doctor:
- Anticoagulants ('blood thinners') can affect the removal of rosuvastatin, examples include: warfarin (Coumadin); cimetidine (Tagamet); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- Additional medications for high cholesterol such as clofibrate (Atromid-S), fenofibrate (Tricor), gemfibrozil (Lopid), and niacin (Niaspan, Niacor);
- Specific HIV protease inhibitors including atazanavir (Reyataz), taken with ritonavir (Norvir) and lopinavir and ritonavir (Kaletra); and spironolactone (Aldactone).
- Alcohol intake should be reduced while on rosuvastatin in order to decrease risk of developing liver damage.
- Aluminum and magnesium hydroxide antacids such as Mylanta and Maalox, should not be taken within two hours of taking rosuvastatin
Mechanism of action
Rosuvastatin is a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, having a mechanism of action similar to that of other statins. Its approximate elimination half life is 19 h and its time to peak plasma concentration is reached in 3–5 h following oral administration.
Putative beneficial effects of rosuvastatin therapy on chronic heart failure may be negated by increases in collagen turnover markers as well as a reduction in plasma coenzyme Q10 levels in patients with chronic heart failure.
Indications and regulation
Rosuvastatin is approved for the treatment of high LDL cholesterol (dyslipidemia), total cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), and/or triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia). In February 2010, rosuvastatin was approved by the FDA for the primary prevention of cardiovascular events.
The results of the JUPITER trial (2008) suggested rosuvastatin may decrease the relative risk of heart attack and stroke in patients without hyperlipidemia, but with elevated levels of highly sensitive C-reactive protein. This could strongly impact medical practice by placing many patients on statin prophylaxis who otherwise would have been untreated. As a result of this clinical trial, the FDA approved rosuvastatin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular events.
The AURORA trial randomized 2776 patients undergoing hemodialysis due to kidney damage to receive either rosuvastatin or placebo. The randomized, double-blind study (2005 to 2009) found no difference in the two groups in the primary end-point, a combination of cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. The study found no difference in all-cause mortality among this population at a mean follow-up of 3.8 years.
Effects on cholesterol levels
The effects of rosuvastatin on LDL cholesterol are dose-related. At the 10 mg dose, the average LDL cholesterol reduction was found to be 46% in one trial. Increasing the dose from 10 mg to 40 mg gave a modest additional 9% absolute reduction in LDL levels (55% below baseline levels).
FDA advisory for East Asian patients
According to the FDA, the risk of myopathy during rosuvastatin therapy may be increased in Asian Americans:
Because Asians appear to process the drug differently, half the standard dose can have the same cholesterol-lowering benefit in those patients, though a full dose could increase the risk of side-effects, a study by the drug's manufacturer, AstraZeneca, indicated.
Therefore, physicians should start Asian-American or East Asian patients at the lowest dose level.
Marketing and competition
The main patent protecting rosuvastatin (RE37,314 - due to expire in 2016) was challenged as being an improper reissue of an earlier patent. This challenge was rejected in 2010, confirming protection until 2016. 
The drug was billed as a "super-statin" during its clinical development; the claim was that it offers high potency and improved cholesterol reduction compared to rivals in the class. The main competitors to rosuvastatin are atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor). However, people can also combine ezetimibe with either rosuvastatin or atorvastatin and other agents on their own, for somewhat similar augmented response rates. So far, some published information for comparing rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, and ezetimibe/simvastatin results is available, but many of the relevant studies are still in progress.
First launched in 2003, sales of rosuvastatin were $129 million and $908 million in 2003 and 2004, respectively, with a total patient treatment population of over 4 million by the end of 2004. Typical per patient costs to the UK NHS are £18.03-26.02/month (compared to £0.85-1.37/month for simvastatin).
Generic rosuvastatin is also produced by pharmaceutical companies in India and elsewhere, and often sold under its INN Rosuvastatin. It is marketed by Cipla Pharmaceuticals under the trade name Rosulip, and macleods marketed by Rozustat,Rolip from Orchid chemicals & pharmaceauticals.
Debate and criticisms
In October 2003, several months after its introduction in Europe, Richard Horton, the editor of the medical journal The Lancet, criticized the way Crestor had been introduced. "AstraZeneca's tactics in marketing its cholesterol-lowering drug, rosuvastatin, raise disturbing questions about how drugs enter clinical practice and what measures exist to protect patients from inadequately investigated medicines," according to his editorial. The Lancet's editorial position is that the data for Crestor’s superiority rely too much on extrapolation from the lipid profile data (surrogate end-points) and too little on hard clinical end-points, which are available for other statins that had been on the market longer. The manufacturer responded by stating that few drugs had been tested so successfully on so many patients. In correspondence published in The Lancet, AstraZeneca's CEO Sir Tom McKillop called the editorial "flawed and incorrect" and slammed the journal for making "such an outrageous critique of a serious, well-studied medicine."
In 2004, the consumer interest organization Public Citizen filed a Citizen's Petition with the FDA, asking that Crestor be withdrawn from the US market. On March 11, 2005, the FDA issued a letter to Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D. of Public Citizen both denying the petition and providing an extensive detailed analysis of findings that demonstrated no basis for concerns about rosuvastatin compared with the other statins approved for marketing in the United States.
As with all statins, there is a concern of rhabdomyolysis, a severe undesired side effect. The FDA has indicated that "it does not appear that the risk [of rhabdomyolysis] is greater with Crestor than with other marketed statins", but has mandated that a warning about this side-effect, as well as a kidney toxicity warning, be added to the product label.
Statins increase the risk of diabetes, consistent with FDA's review of the JUPITER trial, which reported a 27% increase in investigator-reported diabetes mellitus in rosuvastatin-treated patients compared to placebo-treated patients.
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