What Is Crestor?
Crestor is a prescription drug used to treat and prevent stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003 and became the second best-selling anti-cholesterol medication in the US, with lifetime sales of over $60 billion. Crestor may have helped many patients stay heart-healthy, but it may also have caused deadly side effects. Many people who took Crestor and experienced severe side effects have filed Crestor lawsuits against AstraZeneca to seek compensation for their injuries.
What Is Statin?
Crestor is a member of the drug class known as statins. Statins work to slow cholesterol production in the body and reduce cholesterol buildup within artery walls which may decrease the risk for heart attack and stroke.
How Does Crestor Work?
Crestor’s active ingredient is rosuvastatin, a member of the “statin” group of drugs which work by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase that is used in the creation of cholesterol. Crestor helps to reduce the amount of low-density lipoprotein-C, or LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. LDL is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, as it can build up inside the arteries, resulting in obstruction of blood that flows to the brain, heart, and elsewhere in the body.
Crestor also works to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein-C, or HDL cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol can help prevent heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. HDL is also believed to decrease a patient’s need for heart surgery. AstraZeneca claims that Crestor can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 52 percent and also works to lower triglycerides, another type of fat in the bloodstream.
What Does Crestor Treat?
Crestor is prescribed to treat high blood cholesterol. While some blood cholesterol is necessary, too much can result in an increased risk of developing heart disease.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance found in the blood that has a wax-like consistency. It’s used to build healthy cells and so some amounts of cholesterol are necessary and healthy. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream may result in fatty deposits building up in the arteries, which can make it more difficult for blood to flow smoothly. These deposits may also cause clots to form, which may block the flow of blood entirely, and may result in a stroke or a heart attack.
What Is a Lipoprotein?
Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream by proteins. Together, the proteins and the cholesterol are called lipoproteins. There are two different types of lipoproteins:
What Is Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)?
LDLs are considered “bad” cholesterol. These lipoproteins not only transport cholesterol throughout the body but also can build up on the arterial walls over time.
What Is High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)?
HDL is the “good” cholesterol. This is because the proteins transport excess cholesterol to the liver where it may be eliminated from the body.
What Is High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol occurs when too much cholesterol builds up in the bloodstream. Too much cholesterol in the arteries can be dangerous because it may cause stick to blood vessel walls, may cause clots, and may result in heart disease, or even heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol doesn’t actually have any symptoms. The only way to determine whether or not you have high cholesterol is via a blood test.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is an umbrella term used to describe conditions that affect the heart, such as:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Congenital heart defects
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart muscle disease
- Heart valve disease
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?
The symptoms of heart disease may vary depending on the condition, but some symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
What Is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, is a medical emergency that occurs when blood flow to the heart is slowed or stopped entirely by a blockage, often fat or cholesterol or blood clots caused by vessel narrowing. When the blood isn’t flowing properly to the heart, part of the heart can become damaged or even destroyed. A heart attack can be fatal if medical attention isn’t received promptly.
What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?
People can experience heart attacks in very different ways. Some have no symptoms whatsoever, others have mild symptoms, and some experience severe heart attack symptoms. Women, may tend to have symptoms that are different from expected symptoms experienced by men.
Some heart attacks may be very sudden, while others may show symptoms for weeks prior to the actual myocardial infarction. If you’re experiencing chest pain, for example, and it doesn’t go away after you rest, that may be an early warning sign of an impending heart attack.
The symptoms of a heart attack may include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden dizziness
- Cold sweat
- Discomfort or pain in the:
- Upper belly
- Chest discomfort that can feel like:
What Are the Risk Factors for a Heart Attack?
The factors that may increase the risk of a heart attack include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Older age
- Unhealthy diet
- Insufficient exercise
- Family history
- Usage of illegal drugs
What Is a Stroke?
A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is either reduced or cut off entirely. The tissue in the brain requires oxygen to properly function and a reduction or loss of blood flow cuts off that supply. Brain damage and disability can result from a stroke, so every second matters when it comes to receiving treatment. Prompt medical treatment is essential to reduce the risk of negative complications afterward.
What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke?
The symptoms of a stroke may include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty understanding what other people are saying
- Paralysis in an arm, a leg, or one side of the face
- Numbness in an arm, a leg, or one side of the face
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty seeing out of either one or both eyes
What Are the Risk Factors for a Stroke?
The factors that may increase the risk of having a stroke can include:
- Lack of exercise
- Illegal drug use
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Heart disease
- Family history
- COVID-19 infection
What Are the Side Effects of Taking Crestor?
No medication is without its side effects. Side effects for Crestor may range from mild and common to rare and life-threatening.
Crestor has been linked to development of type 2 diabetes, liver damage, and kidney failure. When taken during pregnancy, Crestor side effects may cause severe birth defects in developing embryos.
What Are the Common Side Effects of Crestor?
The more common side effects of taking Crestor may include:
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain
How Can Crestor Affect Pregnancy?
Crestor side effects may be severe for children born to pregnant Crestor patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended against taking Crestor if patients are pregnant or may become pregnant. The FDA assigns a pregnancy category for drugs that may cause birth defects.
The FDA has assigned Crestor to pregnancy category X meaning that evidence strongly suggests that Crestor may affect an unborn fetus or cause harm during pregnancy.
How Can Crestor Impact the Liver?
Crestor use may cause changes in liver function and in some cases, may result in liver failure. Liver problems are most common during a patient’s first three months of taking Crestor. It is recommended that doctors perform liver enzyme testing before patients begin a Crestor regimen. Liver enzyme testing should also be performed 12 weeks after treatment begins. Liver enzyme monitoring can help reduce the instance of Crestor side effects in the liver.
In 2012, the prescribing information for Crestor was updated to include reports of liver failure. These reports warned against rare Crestor side effects including fatal and non-fatal liver complications. Patients who drink alcohol heavily should take caution when considering Crestor treatment.
What Are the Signs That Crestor Has Impacted the Liver?
Symptoms that Crestor has had an impact on the liver may include:
- Dark-colored urine
- Uncharacteristic tiredness
- Pain in the upper belly area
- Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
What Muscle Complications Can Crestor Cause?
Complications of Crestor use may occur, particularly when the medication is used at a dose of 40mg/day or more. Crestor use may cause myopathy which results in muscle weakness. Additionally, a rare disease called rhabdomyolysis can occur if myopathy becomes severe and results in the breakdown of muscle tissue. While some muscle tissue breakdown is natural, excessive breakdown caused by Crestor may occur suddenly and can lead to kidney damage or failure and may be life-threatening.
How Can Crestor Damage the Kidneys?
Crestor may cause kidney damage or changes to kidney function. This may be life-threatening in severe cases where rhabdomyolysis has occurred. Kidney problems can be more likely in patients with high cholesterol who have other conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. These conditions may increase the risk of Crestor kidney side effects. Pre-existing kidney conditions may make it difficult to determine if Crestor directly contributed to a patient’s kidney problems.
Is Crestor Linked to Type 2 Diabetes?
Research shows evidence that Crestor may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A 2010 study revealed that patients who took statins like for their cholesterol had a 9 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When one additional risk factor such as obesity present, the risk for Type 2 diabetes was shown to be as much as 48% higher in people take Crestor.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by an insufficient amount of insulin or an inability to use insulin properly and some evidence may suggest that Crestor increases insulin resistance in muscle tissue.
What Are the Early Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
The earliest symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Unusual weight loss
- Frequent thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased infections
- Cuts or bruises that heal slowly
- Numbness or tingling in the limbs
What Are Crestor’s Links to Cardiomyopathy?
Crestor is also associated with cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is the deterioration of the myocardium, or heart muscle which may be similar to increased skeletal muscle breakdown caused by Crestor. Patients who suffer cardiomyopathy may experience an increased risk of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Cardiomyopathy may lead to heart failure and death.
Why Are People Filing Crestor Lawsuits?
Multiple lawsuits have been filed against AstraZeneca for harm caused to Crestor patients, including type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and cardiomyopathy. These lawsuits have alleged that AstraZeneca concealed the dangers of using Crestor. AstraZeneca was accused of knowing about the deadly side effects but continuing to market the defective drug anyway. These claims assert that AstraZeneca failed to publish study results that showed the dangers of Crestor.
Additionally, plaintiffs alleged that AstraZeneca used deceptive practices and misleading statements to market Crestor. These marketing messages failed to adequately warn consumers of the severity of Crestor’s side effects.
What Crestor Lawsuits Have There Been?
In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that Crestor ads contained false or misleading claims when marketing materials compared the drug to other statins. The FDA asked AstraZeneca to stop running advertising with misleading claims but rejected a petition filed by consumer protection group, Public Citizen, which had filed to recall Crestor.
In 2012, a group of plaintiffs filed a state court Crestor lawsuit against AstraZeneca in California. The lawsuit also named Crestor distributor, McKesson Corporation as a plaintiff and cited injuries including diabetes, rhabdomyolysis, and liver damage.
The Crestor lawsuit patients alleged that Crestor was designed, produced, distributed, and marketed despite the defendants’ knowledge that Crestor was dangerous and defective. This claim essentially means that the manufacturers willfully endangered their users by failing to make the drug safer and failing to give consumers a more thorough warning of the dangers associated with its use.
More than 1,200 California lawsuits may have been filed, however up to 1,000 of these lawsuits were filed by out-of-state residents and the cases were dismissed. Between 2012 and 2013, a number of lawsuits were also filed in Tel Aviv, Israel, however, the plaintiffs withdrew from the action in 2016.
What Crestor Federal Lawsuits Have There Been?
In April 2010, AstraZeneca agreed to pay $520 million as a settlement for federal investigations of illegal marketing practices of its schizophrenia drug Seroquel. AstraZeneca allegedly paid kickbacks to physicians as an incentive for marketing Seroquel for unapproved uses. AstraZeneca is accused of promoting Seroquel to the elderly, prisoners, veterans, and children. While doctors are permitted to prescribe medications for off-label uses, pharmaceutical companies are prohibited from marketing them for off-label uses that have not been specifically approved by the FDA.
Additionally, AstraZeneca was accused of misleading patients and doctors by emphasizing research that favored Seroquel. At the same time, the company failed to adequately warn the public of the increased risk of developing diabetes while using Seroquel. As a result of these allegations of deception, AstraZeneca faced more than 25,000 civil suits from injured Seroquel patients who claim that they were not properly warned of the risks.
What Crestor Lawsuit Settlements Have There Been?
In 2018, the Texas Attorney General announced a settlement with AstraZeneca to resolve “false and misleading marketing schemes” over the marketing of Crestor and Seroquel. The settlement was based on a whistleblower lawsuit that had been filed by four former AstraZeneca employees in Texas and Delaware.
The company was accused of promoting Crestor for unapproved uses and defrauding Medicaid. Though the U.S. government declined to prosecute the case, the State of Texas joined the lawsuit. The Delaware portion was dismissed, and AstraZeneca denied the Texas allegations but agreed to a $110 million settlement.
In February of 2018, AstraZeneca stated in a financial report that it had resolved all product liability claims, though no terms were disclosed.
Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA.