The best-selling statin drug, rosuvastatin, which is sold under the Crestor brand, “should not be used,” according to a doctor writing in The BMJ – because the evidence of benefit has been weak, and there is growing evidence of side-effects.
One of rosuvastatin’s licensed uses is to slow the progression of atherosclerosis (narrowing in arteries).
Writing as founder of the health research arm of the consumer group Public Citizen, Dr. Sidney Wolfe says that he hopes Crestor’s position as the most prescribed brand name drug in the US in 2014 “declines” – because, says the opinion piece in The BMJ, the evidence of clinical benefit has “fallen” along with “more evidence of risks.”
Dr Wolfe suggests that Crestor’s annual multibillion dollar success is explained by rosuvastatin having, milligram for milligram, the best cholesterol-lowering potency of all statins – a “fact exploited in advertising campaigns.”
In spite of its success, the drug should have been withdrawn, the article argues, when Public Citizen first called on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider “serious problems [that] were identified before rosuvastatin’s [FDA] approval.”