Millions of Americans suffer from high cholesterol, which can result in serious health issues should the condition go untreated. Cholesterol is a critical component of a normal, healthy body, is present in all parts of the body and helps produce bile, hormones and vitamin D. However, large amounts of cholesterol in the bloodstream can cause severe complications. High levels of LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, can form a plaque which leads to blockage of the arteries and may result in heart attack. An elevated level of cholesterol is also responsible for an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and an abnormal heart rhythm. In response to these dangers, drug manufacturing companies have developed statins like Crestor, which is a drug that helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol, or LDL, while simultaneously increasing the levels of good cholesterol, or HDL. Crestor was approved by the FDA in 2003 to help lower levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, and was marketed by AstraZeneca as the most potent of the already potent statin drugs on the market at the time.
In order for a new drug to enter the market it must undergo extensive testing to ensure its safety and effectiveness, and then be approved by the FDA. To determine the value of a drug, consumers must weigh the possible benefits against the potential risks, when used in the appropriate manner. In order to do so, they must have adequate information regarding the drug from the pharmaceutical company. If a drug has the potential to cause unreasonable harm, or if the side effects of the drug outweigh the possible benefits, the drug may be deemed unsafe. Unfortunately, Crestor, the anti-cholesterol drug which claims to prevent heart attacks, may actually cause an increased risk of heart attack.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of the heart becomes blocked, resulting in damage to heart muscle due to lack of oxygen. If the heart’s blood supply isn’t quickly restored, the heart muscle may begin to die. Many cases of coronary artery blockage are caused by blood clots, which can result from a build up of plaque on the inside walls of the coronary arteries. Common symptoms of a heart attack are shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, and discomfort in the neck, back, stomach, jaw, or one or both arms. Other symptoms of heart attack include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and a lightheaded feeling. Furthermore, since the heart is responsible for providing the essential blood supply to the rest of the body, inhibited blood flow may result in major organ failure.
Since the introduction of Crestor, and even before, the drug has been associated with major adverse side effects, including heart attack. Crestor has been linked to the development of rhabdomyolysis, a disease which results in rapid deterioration of muscle in the body, which can include the heart muscle. A weakened heart can decrease the blood supply to the rest of the body, resulting in conditions like liver failure, kidney failure and stroke.
AstraZeneca’s prime marketing strategy for Crestor has been to boast the drug’s powerful nature, a quality which has received significant criticism in recent studies. According to researchers, even the potency of Crestor’s standard dosage, which is 10 mg, exposes most individual to a much more intense treatment than they require. In fact, Crestor manufacturers claim that the drug’s standard dose can reduce LDL by a shocking 46-52%, although the average person with elevated cholesterol levels require a mere 20-30% reduction. According to one Crestor study, even 1 mg of Crestor can reduce LDL by 35%, equal to that of 20 mg and 30 mg doses of similar anti-cholesterol medications. Many organizations have voiced their concerns about the harmful nature of Crestor. In fact, in 2004, only a year after the drug’s inception, a consumer interest group called Public Citizen, petitioned the FDA to remove Crestor from the market.
Despite these dangers, Crestor remains on the market. In fact, in 2010, the FDA actually approved a wider use of Crestor, which allowed the drug to be marketed to healthy individuals to prevent the development of heart attack and stroke. This new market population consists of individuals who have normal to only slightly elevated levels of cholesterol, but who have an elevated C-reactive protein level, which is considered a marker for cardiovascular disease. The study on which this new indication was largely based was financially supported by AstraZenenca and was led by the man who invented the actual C-reactive protein test, the major determining factor in the study. Experts warn consumers to evaluate the actual results of this study though. Researchers claim that, according to the study, Crestor can decrease the risk of heart attack by 55% and stroke by 48%. However, because this study compared healthy individuals with individuals taking a placebo, the 55% reduction, in reality, only translates to two out of 1,000 people. In other words, 500 people would have to take Crestor for one year in order to prevent just one heart attack. Because of this study though, the dangerous drug was made available to 6.5 million healthy Americans.
Crestor has been heavily marketed as a safe and effective method of reducing cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is estimated that Crestor has already been prescribed to more than four million individuals, many of whom may now be at risk for developing serious health conditions, including heart attack. Consumers depend upon drug manufacturing companies and the FDA to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medications. Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies employ deceptive practices in order to conceal the more serious side effects associated with their medications, leaving consumers at risk for serious illness, injury and even death. Drug manufacturing companies should be held accountable for the harmful side effects associated with their medications, as well as the injuries sustained by consumers who take their medications. Victims of Crestor-related injuries are not at fault and should contact a Crestor attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a defective drug lawsuit. If you or a loved one has suffered from a heart attack and you believe Crestor to be the cause, a Crestor lawyer can help you collect compensation for your injuries.