Crestor, one of six statins approved for the United States market, is a cholesterol-reducing drug that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August of 2003.
Benefits of Crestor
According to the drug’s manufacturer AstraZeneca, when Crestor is used with a low-cholesterol diet and an exercise program, it reduces bloodstream cholesterol and triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol – in the bloodstream.
When Taking Crestor
The drug is only available in measured doses of 5, 10, 20, and 40 milligrams, and the 40 milligram doses are only available to those patients who conform to specific restrictions. Additionally, the manufacturer’s web site warns that it creates complications when mixed with certain medications, including non-prescription drugs like antacids. The web site also warns of side effects like nausea, constipation, stomach pain, weakness and muscle pain. However, the web site doesn’t mention the deadly side effects of kidney failure – a result of rhabdomyolysis, a form of muscle damage.
Public Citizen Consumer Group
The Public Citizen Consumer Group asked the FDA to remove Crestor from the marketplace in March of 2004. They asked for an immediate removal because the use of the drug was linked to cases involving life-threatening issues, specifically muscle and kidney damage or failure.
Despite these formal requests by the Public Citizen Consumer Group to the FDA for the drug to be withdrawn due to links to rhabdomyolysis, AstraZeneca has continued to market Crestor as an efficacious solution for cholesterol issues.
Statins and Rhabdomyolysis
Acknowledging the side effects of statin, including deaths related to rhabdomyolysis, the drug manufacturers of Baycol, another statin, took it off the market. Additionally, there have been reports linking rhabdomyolysis, a muscle degenerating disease, with Crestor. With at least one death attributed to Crestor use, there is concern that it increases a patient’s risk of muscle damage and related kidney failure.
Rhabdomyolysis causes a rapid breakdown in muscle cells and saturates the bloodstream with proteins like lactate dehydrogenase, creatine, aldolase, and myoglobin, as well as the mineral potassium. This muscle damage and blood saturation strains the kidneys and may damage them. When kidney damage leads to kidney failure, the results may be fatal.
Rhabdomyolysis has many causes, including the ingestion of statin.
Symptoms and Treatment of Rhabdomyolysis
Besides muscular weakness, the patient also exhibits dark urine, fever, stiffness, confusion, a tender skin, and pain. Diagnosis is not always easy, and a patient coming down with rhabdomyolysis may often be misdiagnosed.
Treatment includes stopping the use of statin drugs like Crestor and replenishing the blood stream and helping the kidneys recover with fluids. If these steps don’t help, dialysis may be necessary.
Seeking Expert Legal Counsel
Crestor users should be aware of the symptoms of rhabdomyolsis that include vomiting, nausea, dark urine, fever, malaise, weakness, tenderness, and muscle pain. Since the potential side effects can be deadly, those who take Crestor or have a loved one who take the drug may wish to receive a legal evaluation from an attorney experienced in drug litigation.