What is Crestor

Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium) is the newest statin drug to be used in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol.

Although it is priced at about the same level as other statins, Crestor is considered to be significantly more potent, and thus more effective in improving cholesterol levels in patients.

Crestor is estimated to be two to three times more potent than Lipitor and up to six times more potent than Zocor.

Crestor was first approved in the Netherlands in 2002 and has since been approved in 23 other countries, including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. It gained FDA approval for sale in the United States in August 2003.

Crestor has been approved for dosages ranging from 5 to 40 mg a day.

According to AstraZeneca, the drug's manufacturer, the clinical testing program for Crestor was the largest such program ever undertaken by a drugmaker before submitting its product for regulatory approval. More than 24,000 patients around the world participated in clinical trials, and a clinical outcomes program involving 18,000 patients worldwide was launched in May.

In one six-week trial of Crestor that looked at varying doses of the drug, Crestor was shown to lower LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels by 45 to 63 per cent, while increasing HDL (or "good") cholesterol by up to 14 per cent.

As with all statin drug therapy, patients should make sincere efforts to control their cholesterol levels through a combination of diet, exercise and weight reduction.

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