And Now..Cholesterol Pills for those with Normal Cholesterol!

In a decision which raised the eyebrow of many doctors as well as patients, a popular cholesterol pill Crestor (rosuvastatin) has now been approved by the US FDA for use in healthy people with normal cholesterol…well, not just anybody, but for those with all of the following 3 features: increasing age + high CRP + one traditional risk factor (either smoking, high blood pressure, positive family history, low HDL-cholesterol).

At US$2 a pill, its wider usage can mean big bucks for big pharmas

In a recent bulletin, the FDA took pains to say that this was based on a clinical study (the Jupiter Trial) which showed that those who took Crestor for two years experienced less heart attacks, strokes and needed fewer heart operations.

Even so, a few cardiologists, including yours truly, have some trepidation in unreservedly recommending Crestor for such people with normal cholesterol. In the first place, no amount of medication is going to substitute for adopting a healthy lifestyle (in other words, regular exercise,proper dieting, weight reduction and getting rid of the fags). Both need to go hand in hand in order to achieve any benefit.

Erectile dysfuction -a real problem with drugs like Crestor

The other downside in taking these pills is the risk of side-effects, most notably generalised muscle and joint pains and..listen up, you men..poor erection! Yes, many patients feel shy to bring this up with their doctor but it seems to be more common than reported. The good thing about this problem is that its “business as usual” once the pills are withdrawn. Recently, news reports have even implied that statins (like Crestor) can lead to diabetes.

There are many who suspect that promoting this use of  Crestor is big pharma’s way of enhancing sales in these troubled times..not to mention giving private insurance companies a valid reason for raising your premiums because you’re on medications.

The issue sure is getting more complicated nowadays; with a diabetes drug supposed to cause heart attacks (Avandia) and conversely, a heart attack drug that may cause  diabetes (Crestor) !! If its any indication, 4 of the 12 members in the FDA Drug Committee objected to this new indication for its use..

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2 responses

  1. As a fellow doctor, I must say I agree with you that the dangers of statins like Crestor have not been highlighted enough. In fact, I made an informed decision not to take them despite all the indications being there purely after reading the possible downsides.

  2. I did not realize 4 out 12 members of the FDA objected to the new indication. I think I will add that to my post. Nice post.
    Doctor2008: Thanks. Welcome to the blogging world!

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