A leading doctor has warned that the statin rosuvastati, also known as Crestor, is associated with a higher risk of diabetes.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser to the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a US civil rights group, believes there is growing evidence of harmful side effects from the drug.
The use of statins
Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs and commonly prescribed by the NHS. They are designed to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
Rosuvastatin is commonly used in the UK, with roughly two million prescriptions reportedly issued for the drug each year.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, Wolfe reports that the initial approval of rosuvastatin to prevent heart attacks was based on a very select group of people.
The study was stopped early, Wolfe claims, which led to concerns that treatment effects may have been overestimated.
Furthermore, he writes that a review of trials showed rosuvastatin was linked to a 25 per cent increased risk of diabetes, the highest of any statin.
Public Citizen attempted to get the drug banned by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2004 due to concerns with its effects on muscles and the kidneys.
Wolfe claims that AstraZenecan, who market rosuvastatin under the name Crestor, use misleading information about the drug to promote it. He hopes, however, that growing evidence about its side effects will lead to a reduction in its usage.
“The patent for rosuvastatin expires in 2016, and with it AstraZeneca’s need to promote it. But for the sake of the public’s health, we must hope that the drug’s disadvantages will lead to a sharp decline in its use before next year,” Wolfe wrote.
In a statement, AstraZeneca replied: “Crestor is an effective treatment for lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol, when compared to other statins, and it has been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis.”

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