Drug Company Gets Approval To Sell Crestor To Healthy People

Don’t have high cholesterol? Think you don’t need Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin? You may be in for a rude awakening. Astra Zeneca, the maker of Crestor, has received approval to market the drug to healthy people as a preventative measure. And before you ask, yes Crestor does have side-effects.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the new criteria last month for Crestor, which is made by AstraZeneca and is the nation’s second best-selling statin, behind Lipitor by Pfizer. AstraZeneca plans soon to begin a new marketing and advertising campaign for Crestor, based on the new F.D.A.-approved criteria.

Under those criteria, an estimated 6.5 million people in this country who have no cholesterol problems and no sign of heart problems will be deemed candidates for statins. That is in addition to the 80 million who already meet the current cholesterol-based guidelines — about half of whom now take statins.

The new Crestor label says it may be prescribed for apparently healthy people if they are older — men 50 and over and women 60 and over — and have one risk factor like smoking or high blood pressure, in addition to elevated inflammation in the body.

So what’s the downside? There is apparently some evidence that statin use increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 9 percent.

And then, of course, are the inevitable commercials.

So, what do you think? Will you take Crestor as a preventative measure even if you don’t have high cholesterol, but have another risk factor?

Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People [NYT]