Lipid lowering medications are prescribed to help lower high cholesterol levels and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Among the medications belonging to this category, Rosuvastatin Calcium is regarded as one of the most popular in the US. Ranked 39th in terms of most commonly prescribed drugs, the statin class of medication is recommended in around 20 million prescriptions annually. Most drugs come with inherent side effects of varying intensity or nature and Rosuvastatin is no exception. Here is an indepth review of rosuvastatin calcium side effects to help patients take adequate precautions while on the medication.
Drug overview and rosuvastatin calcium side effects
Before we look at rosuvastatin calcium side effects it is necessary to understand more about the drug and its mechanism of action. The lipid lowering drug is prescribed for patients with high cholesterol, to reduce risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, kidney ailments, and also for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Available as tablets, the medication works by preventing the endogenous production of cholesterol in the liver.
Recommended methods of taking the medication
To avoid rosuvastatin calcium side effects it is important to follow the recommended methods for taking the medication. There are two different aspects that need to be considered – the dosage, and the timing. The dosage of the medication depends on the condition for which the medication is taken. For instance, adults who take Rosuvastatin for reducing risk of heart attacks and strokes take 20mg per day. Depending on various parameters, the dosage may also be reduced for certain individuals. Individuals who take the medication to bring down cholesterol levels may typically be prescribed 5mg to 10 mg per day.
For patients who require a higher dosage level, doctors typically prescribe a dosage that is gradually increased. This increase from one level to the next generally takes one month. The maximum prescribed dosage for adults with high cholesterol levels is typically 40mg. In most cases the maximum dosage is 20 mg, and 40 mg is only prescribed in a limited number of cases. For children, the dosage is never to exceed 20 mg, regardless of the condition.
Another important condition that needs to be fulfilled to avoid rosuvastatin calcium side effects is the need to stick to a routine when on the medication. Individuals are advised to take the tablets at the same time every day. There are different reasons for this recommended practice. The first reason is to get into the habit of talking the medication, as in most cases the tablet is likely to be a lifelong treatment regimen. The second reason is the absorption, volume of distribution and metabolism. This makes it necessary to take the medicine at the same time daily, which will ensure that the half-life of the medication will make it effective in delivering the desired outcomes.
Skipping of doses unintentionally is a common occurrence among patients. Individuals who skip the tablets are not to take an extra dose in an effort to make up for the missed dosage. Remember, the dosage is not to exceed a specific mg per day and it is therefore necessary to stick to this requirement. Patients who have missed the dosage are to take the next dose at the usual time on the following day.
Fast facts about rosuvastatin calcium side effects
Here is a glance at important information about rosuvastatin calcium side effects. The medication is intended for adults, apart from children above the age of 06 years. It is not to be given to children below this age under any circumstance. Individuals with certain conditions are advised not to take the medication. For instance, patients who have had some kind of allergic reactions to statins or other medications need to inform the doctor of such history. Patients with existing liver ailments or renal impairment are advised to seek specialist opinion before taking the medication.
Women who plan a pregnancy are advised to stay off the medication. Similarly, women who are also pregnant, or nursing infants are not to take the medication. Patients with existing lung related conditions are also at risk of experiencing rosuvastatin calcium side effects and are therefore advised to avoid taking he medication. Among the side effects, contraindications or drug interactions are also a possibility. Therefore, individuals on certain immunosuppressant medications such as ciclosporin are advised to avoid either of the two. Here it is important to understand which medication has a more important role, or an immediate need, to help decide on precluding the other. Patients with a family history of muscle disorders such as fibromyalgia need to convey the same to the treating specialist.
Other precautions or categories of individuals include patients with an underactive thyroid. Individuals who have experienced complications earlier when on other statin class of medications are also at risk of rosuvastatin calcium side effects. For instance, any problems experienced in the muscles by patients when on any cholesterol lowering drugs places the individual in a risk category. Over indulgence in alcohol is another reason for caution, as this could result in possible side effects. Another drug interaction of the medication is with other drugs belonging to the category of fibrates, that are used for the purpose of lowering cholesterol. Finally, the drug is known to cause side effects individuals with a particular genetic makeup – for instance, individuals of Asian origin are known to experience stronger effects, and are therefore advised to seek medical advice.
Commonly reported rosuvastatin calcium side effects
With the above background information about the medication behind us, it is time to look at commonly reported rosuvastatin calcium side effects. The most frequently reported adverse reactions or outcomes of the medication include headache that is not attributed to other conditions. Individuals are likely to experience a sudden throbbing headache when on the medication. Feelings of nausea or dizziness are also a possibility when on the drug. Patients are also known to experience some kind of weakness without indulging in any strenuous activity. Pain is another adverse reaction that is most likely to be experienced by patients. This could be pain in the abdomen or it could be some form of muscle pain.
Patients are also known to experience adverse hypersensitivity reactions as a result of the medication. This includes rashes, strong itching sensations, abnormal inflammation or swelling and hives. There is also the possibility of patients ending up with pancreatitis. This is a condition wherein the pancreas are inflamed, and this in turn could cause vomiting sensations or nausea. The condition could either be short term in nature or could also be long term in nature. Cough and shortness of breath are other possible rosuvastatin calcium side effects that could be experienced by individuals. This could sometimes be accompanied by a loss of weight that is not attributed to dietary modifications. These side effects could indicate complications in the lung and require to be reported to the specialist. Patients are also likely to observe indications of complications in the liver. For instance, when the whites of the eyes turn yellow, it could possibly indicate ailments in the liver. In such instance, proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment is necessary.
Conditions that have resulted in patients discontinuing the medication
Patients are known to discontinue the medication due to certain conditions. For instance, prolonged nausea is one of the most common reasons for patients dropping off the treatment. Similarly, other rosuvastatin calcium side effects that have resulted in the discontinuation of the medication include pain in the abdomen and myalgia. The latter refers to the condition wherein muscle pain is experienced, without any underlying reason attributed to the condition. When these conditions persist, patients are known to discontinue the treatment and look at alternate options.
As Rosuvastatin belongs to the statin class of medications, it typically needs to be taken lifelong. Therefore, individuals who are unable to cope up with persistent side effects end up looking at other treatment options. Another side effect that is often a cause for concern that pushes patients to leave the treatment is asthenia. This refers to the condition where the patient experiences abnormal weakness and a sudden drain of energy that is not attributed to any underlying condition.
Effective methods to manage rosuvastatin calcium side effects
While in certain instances it may not be possible to prevent the side effects, there are ways and methods by which the side effects can be managed. Certain rosuvastatin calcium side effects are temporary in nature and are known to resolve naturally without the need for any medical intervention. For instance, patients may experience higher levels of albumin in the urine as a result of Rosuvastatin. This is a purely temporary effect and is not a cause for concern. Certain conditions such as fever and headaches require some attention. Patients with headaches are to take adequate intake of liquids along with proper rest. This will help relieve some of the discomfort. When the conditions persist, it may be necessary to consult a specialist.
Similarly, other rosuvastatin calcium side effects are typically handled by tackling the symptoms. For instance, pain in the stomach is tackled by measures that help to reduce the discomfort. The use of hot water bottles helps to reduce the pain and other measures such as consuming food that is easy on the stomach will help mitigate. Without exception, any side effect that persists requires medical attention. Patients who experience weakness in the body and any abnormal dizziness are advised to restrict movements and exercise caution at the workplace. Patients who have experienced dizziness need to avoid driving vehicles and handling heavy equipment or machinery that require high levels of alertness.