Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is also known as bad cholesterol; it is called so because it accumulates on the linings of your arteries. Such build-up of fats on the walls can often obstruct the flow of blood. Restricted blood flow is attributed as the main reason for cardiac conditions such as heart attacks or myocardial infarctions as well as strokes. Drugs belonging to a category called statins are widely used to treat an excessive presence of bad cholesterol (as well as triglycerides). There are many types of statins – namely, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, etc. Before starting your treatment plan, it is a wise thing to know the differences between these two statins – i.e., atorvastatin and rosuvastatin.

Your body can make cholesterol on its own. Your liver helps make these fats. Proteins – known as lipoproteins – are required to transport these fats to their destinations. Reliance on such proteins is primarily because these lipids are not soluble in blood. You also need to know that the various types of foods you eat may also contribute to the formation of cholesterol in your blood vessels. A standard blood test can reveal the level of LDL, HDL as well as triglycerides.

Risk factors associated with excessive build-up of LDL depend on many causes. Most common among such causes are the presence of hypertension (high blood pressure), age, prior ailments, presence of heart attacks or high cholesterol level in your family’s health history, your body weight, etc. Statins such as atorvastatin or rosuvastatin are prescribed along with a comprehensive treatment plan. The plan comprises intake of a healthy diet (keeping away from oily or deep-fried foods; instead, a healthy diet includes nuts and fibers for your daily nutrition), quitting smoking tobacco-based products, working out / exercising regularly, shedding extra kilos or needless flab.

What is rosuvastatin?

This drug – as the name indicates – belongs to a class of drugs called statins. The key function of this drug is to reduce the level of fats your liver makes. This statin is also known to boost the level of HDL (good cholesterol) and also reduce other fats such as triglycerides. This drug is taken through the oral route; it can be taken either before or after food. The strength of doses is based on the severity of the build-up of lipids, and a few other factors such as age, and weight along with the presence of other medical conditions like diabetes.

Drugs containing magnesium and/or aluminum are likely to reduce the efficacy of this statin. Owing to this, antacids are never taken along with atorvastatin. If your medical condition necessitates the intake of antacids, you are advised to provide a time interval of 2 to 3 hours between these two drugs.

What is atorvastatin?

This statin – similar to rosuvastatin – helps reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and other forms of lipids known as triglycerides. As an added benefit, this statin enables good cholesterol (HDL) to increase. These actions help prevent cardiac conditions such as heart arrest, strokes, or a cardiac attack. Atorvastatin is sold under the name “Lipitor”, and is widely prescribed. This statin is taken along with a regulated diet plan, a regular workout plan as well as other measures taken to reduce body weight.

Consumption of grapefruit – as a fruit or in a juiced form – is likely to make a larger residue of this drug get into your blood. Grapefruit is known to interfere with the absorption of this drug and hence may lead to toxicity of this statin. As an added precaution, never take other forms of drugs which can reduce cholesterol levels – for example, colestipol or cholestyramine.

Atorvastatin versus rosuvastatin

Among these two drugs, rosuvastatin is known to reduce LDL much better than atorvastatin. Not stopping with LDL, rosuvastatin facilitates a marked reduction in the level of triglycerides – as compared to most other statins. There is another condition known as microalbuminuria – which is likely to show up soon after a prolonged intake of statins. On this front, atorvastatin emerges as a safe statin to take. The risks of a likely incidence of microalbuminuria are the lowest among users of atorvastatin; rosuvastatin came a close second on this front while other statins such as pravastatin – are found to trigger a relatively high level of risk.

In terms of dosages vis-à-vis remedial effects, rosuvastatin – at 10 mg dose – is known to have better therapeutic effects than higher doses of atorvastatin (say, at 40 milligrams, mg). In terms of being available in the market, rosuvastatin is the latest addition to the family of statins. In terms of boosting good cholesterol level (HDL), statins are surprisingly found to reduce HDL instead of increasing this lipid. However, rosuvastatin scores very high on this count because of the relatively low level of reduction in HDL level.

In this light, you are also advised to stay aware of a few side effects that statins are known to cause. Those living with diabetes mellitus must tell their doctor of this condition; intake of statins by people living with diabetes may aggravate their blood sugar condition. In some instances, statins – such as rosuvastatin – may cause memory lapses, muscular weakness as well as tiredness. Those who experience these discomforts are advised to consult with their treating doctor on an urgent mode.

In sum, rosuvastatin is a relatively new entrant to the genre of meds known as a statin. Also, this drug is known to work more efficiently at lower dosage values (of 10 mg) as compared to atorvastatin (at 20 mg or 40 mg) and pravastatin (at 20 mg). In general, rosuvastatin is known to yield better results on multiple fronts. But, the statin administered to treat your medical condition is based on many factors; these include your diabetic levels, presence of high blood pressure, and a few other medical conditions such as recent heart attacks, myocardial infarction, etc. Hence, it is a safe practice to adhere to the prescriptions of your treating doctor/caregiver. In case you have any questions about the type of statin prescribed to you, its dosage strength as well as the duration of your treatment plan – you are advised to talk to your caregiving team and/or pharmacist.

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