Rosuvastatin

Sounds like 'ro-su-va-stat-in'

Rosuvastatin is used to lower raised cholesterol. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Rosuvastatin is also called Crestor.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Medicine to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol (cholesterol is a type of fat in your body).
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as statins.
  • Crestor®

What is rosuvastatin?

Everyone has cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood. They are fatty substances needed by your body for many functions. There are different types of cholesterol. Too much of the ‘bad’ cholesterol can block the blood vessels that supply your heart and brain with blood, and can cause heart attack, angina and stroke. The ‘good’ cholesterol helps to remove the bad cholesterol from your blood vessels. Rosuvastatin is used to lower the level of the bad cholesterol in your blood. 

Rosuvastatin belongs to a group of medicines called statins. Rosuvastatin is usually used when other statins such as atorvastatin or simvastatin have not worked well. Read more about statins, including when they are used, their benefits and risks. See also these common questions about statins.

Dose

Rosuvastatin tablets are available in different strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg.

  • The usual dose of rosuvastatin is 20 mg once a day. Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose of 5 mg once daily, and increase your dose slowly, depending on your cholesterol levels.  
  • Always take rosuvastatin exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much rosuvastatin to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take rosuvastatin

  • Timing: Take rosuvastatin once a day, at around the same time each day. Swallow each tablet whole with a drink of water. You can take rosuvastatin with or without food.
  • Don't drink large amounts of alcohol. Heavy drinking can increase your risk of side effects, such as problems with your liver.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, and it is more than 6 hours before your next dose is due, take it as soon as you remember. If its less than 6 hours before your next dose, wait until your next dose is due and take it as normal.
  • Keep taking rosuvastatin regularly. To reduce your cholesterol effectively, you must keep taking rosuvastatin every day. Treatment with rosuvastatin is usually long term.

Precautions before starting rosuvastatin

  • Do you have liver or kidney problems?
  • Do you have problems with your thyroid?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Are you trying to get pregnant, think you might be pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • Do you drink large amounts of alcohol?
  • Have you had, or do you have, a muscle disorder?

If any of these apply, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start rosuvastatin. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care, which your pharmacist will tell you about.

Precautions when taking rosuvastatin.

  • You may need to see your doctor regularly when you first start taking rosuvastatin to make sure the dose is right for you.
  • To get the full benefit of a statin, it is important to eat a healthy diet and exercise often.

Side effects

Like all medicines, rosuvastatin can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Muscle pain or weakness

Some people get muscle pain or weakness when taking statins. This is rarely serious and often goes away with time. If your pain comes on shortly after you start your statin, or gets worse, see your doctor. Your doctor will check an enzyme called creatine kinase to see if the aches and pains are possibly being caused or made worse by the statins. If so:

  • a lower dose or a different statin may be prescribed
  • you may choose to continue living with the aches because of the benefits of the statin
  • you may discuss stopping taking your statin with your doctor.

Your doctor will also want to check for a rare but serious condition called rhabdomyolisis, as well as check any other medicines you are taking. Rhabdomyolisis can be caused by an interaction between statins and some other medicines.

Other side effects

Side effects What should I do?
  • Diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • Stomach upset
  • Bloating or gas in your tummy
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • These are quite common when you first start taking rosuvastatin, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Muscle aches and pains or muscle weakness
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as dark-coloured pee, yellowing of your skin or eyes, or a sharp pain in your stomach area
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as itchy skin and rash
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.

Interactions

Rosuvastatin can interact with some medicines and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting rosuvastatin and before starting any new medicines or supplements.

Learn more

Crestor® Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets, NZ
Statins Heart Foundation, NZ

References

  1. Prescribing statins to reduce cardiovascular risk BPAC, NZ, 2017
  2. Investigating myalgia in patients taking statins BPAC, NZ, 2014
  3. Statins NZ Formulary
  4. Rosuvastatin NZ Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland Last reviewed: 23 Apr 2021