In the US more than 93 million adults have high cholesterol levels, with around 35 million individuals at risk of exposure to cardiovascular diseases. Cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL put individuals at elevated risk of strokes and heart attacks. Various medications are presently used in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes to regulate and lower the levels of bad cholesterol, while increasing the levels of good cholesterol. Statins are one among the popular medications that are used for lowering cholesterol levels – we will now take a detailed look at the side effects of rosuvastatin.

Drug overview and side effects of rosuvastatin

Belonging to the statin class of medications, Rosuvastatin is a lipid lowering drug, that works by preventing cholesterol production in the liver. The combined effect of reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol levels helps in reducing risk of exposure to cardiovascular diseases. Before we look at the side effects of Rosuvastatin here is a look at the optimal cholesterol levels that will maintain good health of individuals.

High HDL Cholesterol

> 35 mg/dL

Low LDL Cholesterol

< 110 mg/dL

Triglycerides

< 150 mg/dL

Total Cholesterol

< 170 mg/dL

mg/dL represents – milligrams per deciliter
HDL represents High Density Lipoprotein
LDL represents Low Density Lipoprotein
Triglycerides are lipids in the blood

Mechanism of action of Rosuvastatin

The medication works by preventing the enzyme that is responsible for the conversion and production of compounds that are a part of the lipid metabolism process. The inhibition helps in preventing the transport of LDL and VLDL that are collectively known as bad cholesterol. Typically, medications belonging to this category are prescribed immediately after cardiovascular events. The mediation is also part of first line medication for individuals who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease – for instance, individuals with type 2 diabetes. The relatively lesser side effects of Rosuvastatin have made it a popular choice for treating the condition.

Compared with other medication, statins have lesser long-term effects, contributing to the status as one among the most frequently prescribed medications for the condition. More fatalities are attributed to conditions such as atherosclerosis, angina, stroke, heart attack and peripheral artery disease. Statins help lower LDL levels and reduce the risk of the above cardiovascular diseases. Among all statin class of medications, Rosuvastatin is regarded as the most potent with significant changes in LDL levels, that are higher than the outcomes of other statins. Lesser side effects of Rosuvastatin are attributed to the increased hepatic uptake and lesser metabolism. As a result of this the drug triggers lesser interactions when compared with other statins. Rosuvastatin helps improve endothelial function, and reduces oxidative stress through its mechanism of action. It exerts an anti-inflammatory effect and regulates nitric oxide synthase which results in an increase in nitric oxide levels. This helps deliver the potent outcomes of the medication, helping it treat various conditions effectively.

Commonly reported side effects of Rosuvastatin

There is a possibility of individuals experiencing side effects of Rosuvastatin which could range from common and mild to rare and severe. Side effects that we re commonly experienced include sudden pain in the abdomen, feelings of nausea and abnormal throbbing headache. There is a possibility of individuals experiencing pain in the muscles (medically known as myalgia) and unusual feelings of weakness. Patients may suddenly experience lesser energy levels accompanied by general weakness.

Categories of patients who need to avoid the medication

There are certain categories of patients who are advised against use of the mediation to prevent the side effects of Rosuvastatin from triggering adverse effects. For instance, individuals with existing liver conditions or disease are advised to stay away from the medication. Similarly, pregnant women and nursing mothers are also advised to avoid the medication as it could trigger possible side effects. Additionally, there are other categories of individuals with known allergies to statins, who are required to look at alternative treatment options. Diabetics need to inform the treating specialists of the medications being used to ensure that there are no adverse effects. Individuals with thyroid disorders also belong to the high-risk category of patients who need to intimate doctors of their conditions.

Another category of patients requiring extra caution are individuals who over indulge in alcoholic drinks as a matter of routine. Women on Rosuvastatin who become pregnant are expected to immediately inform the treating doctors, to prevent adverse risks to the child in the womb. Rosuvastatin is known to expose patients to moderate risk levels of developing rhabdomyolysis. The condition refers to the degeneration of skeletal muscles. Releasing myoglobin in blood. As a result of this, there is a possibility of patients ending up with renal failure or complications. Patients exhibiting symptoms of the condition are advised to immediately stop the medication and seek urgent medical intervention.

Symptoms and indications of possible side effects of Rosuvastatin

Conditions and symptoms that are indicative of side effects of Rosuvastatin include sudden discoloration of the urine, abnormal appetite loss, symptoms similar to jaundice, unusual feelings of tiredness, sudden pain in the muscles, and abnormal general weakness. These indicate side effects that are serious in nature. However, these symptoms are not common, but rare in occurrence and affect only a limited number of patients.

Drug interactions of Rosuvastatin

In addition to the side effects of Rosuvastatin patients need to be aware of the possible risks of drug interactions. Patients on medications for treating HIV are also advised to avoid statins as the medication is known to interact adversely with certain categories of HIV medications. Alcohol is known to increase the levels of triglycerides and this can result in damage to the liver if patients take the medication alongwith alcohol. The whole purpose of choosing statins as medication is to reduce cholesterol levels, and it is therefore necessary to combine the medication with dietary modifications. In other words, patients are advised to change dietary preferences that result in higher levels of cholesterol and fat. Details of drug interaction are explained below.

#1 Medications that work on the immune system – Drugs that are intended to reduce the immune response system will end up increasing Rosuvastatin levels. As a consequence of the increased levels of Rosuvastatin, side effects associated with the medication are likely to be elevated.

#2 Anticoagulants – Commonly known as blood thinners, anticoagulants when taken alongwith Rosuvastatin can result in increased International Normalized Ratio levels taken during PT-INR tests. It is therefore necessary to exercise caution while taking the medication and to rely on specific medical recommendations to avoid possible side effects of Rosuvastatin.

#3 Medications for treating gout – Certain medications that are used for treating gout are likely to cause side effects when used in combination with statins. Adverse effects such as pain in the muscles and rhabdomyolysis could be the outcomes of these drug interactions, and it is therefore necessary for patients to specifically inform doctors about line of treatment followed, to avoid side effects of Rosuvastatin.

#4 Medications for liver infections – As the drug works primarily by controlling the cholesterol levels produced in the liver, it is known to interact with other medications that are used for liver ailments. Drugs used for liver related conditions may result in an increase of Rosuvastatin levels and this may result in possible side effects of Rosuvastatin.

#5 Antacids – Certain antacids are known to reduce the effectiveness of the medication and it is therefore necessary to time the medications in such a manner so as to avoid an interaction. For instance, aluminum and magnesium in antacids have an impact on the mechanism of action of the medication.

#6 Medication for treating cholesterol levels – While the medication is intended for lowering cholesterol levels, it is safe to not combine statins with other medications. The possibility of an sudden increase in the levels of Rosuvastatin exists and this may trigger side effects listed earlier – issues related to the muscles, such as pain and weakness.

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