Differences in Lipitor and Crestor

Statin medications are prescribed to lower low density lipoproteins or LDL-cholesterol and raise high density lipoprotein or HDL-cholesterol. These two goals are designed to result in a lower risk of arteriosclerois, or the build of plaque in the arteries and resultant cardiovascular disease.

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Atorivaslstatin or Lipitor and Rosuvastatin or Crestor were compared in several studies to evaluate their effetiveness and side effects 1. Both work to slow the production of cholesterol in the body.

Comparing HDL Improvement

High Density Lipoprotein protects the body from excessive fats by moving them to the liver for storage and removal so the higher the level achieved, within certain limits, the better. The National Institutes of Health recommend a target HDL of 40 mg per deciliter for men and 50 mg per deciliter for women.

In the ECLIPSE Trial people HDL levels of people taking each of these medications were studied. After 12 weeks those taking 20 mg of Lipitor each day had raised their HDL by 4.2 percent and thsoe taking 20 mg of Crestor saw a 8.4 percent increase. At 24 weeks the results were more striking, The subjects were taking either 80mg of Lipitor or 40 mg of Crestor and they had raised their HDL 1.8 percent and 8.4 percent respectively showing Crestor's greater effectiveness in raising HDL levels.

In comparison, when just 100 ml or 3.4 oz of alcohol was added to daily food plan an HDL elevation of 18 percent was realized in just four weeks, according to results of a study by a team from Rockefeller University, reported in the 2000 issue of "Circulation."

Effects on LDL

Low density lipoprotein or LDL-cholesterol damages arteries once it reaches a certain concentration in the blood. The target for adults is 100 mg per deciliter but it is 70 mg per deciliter for those at high risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the National Cholesterol Education Guidelines. This group includes people with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and especially those with central or abdominal obesity. That is defined as having an abdominal circumference of greater than 35 inches for a woman or 45 inches for a man, according to the standards issued by the American Heart Association 2.

In the Discovery Study 911 adults in Sweden with high risk for cardiovascular disease were divided into two groups. One group took 10 mg of Crestor for 12 weeks and 83.4 percent of them reached the LDL goal of 100 mg per deciliter. The other group took 10 mg of Lipitor for the same period of time but only 68.3 percent of these people met that goal.

Side Effects

A medication doesn't work if you don't take it and people taking both of these medications have reported significant side effects including extreme fatigue, muscle pain and weakness and a decrease in energy level, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The same FDA advisories note that Lipitor users have complained of swelling in their hands and feet and joint pain whereas Crestor has produced depression and sleep disturbances. If you already have depression or insomnia the choice of Lipitor would be reasonable and those with arthritis would may be better served with Crestor.