2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Crestor: To Take or Not To Take

Click here for the Health Tip link.

When drug research like the recent Crestor study makes headlines in the Chicago Sun-Times and the national media, I know I’ll be fielding questions from patients. The very day after the Crestor study, in fact, the perky Crestor drug reps arrived in my office, barely able to contain their glee about the study’s conclusions. I was pretty sure their unmitigated joy was vastly surpassed by that of their company’s CEO, whose dollar-sign eyeballs were surely glowing somewhere in a darkened Crestor boardroom.

So what’s all the fuss about? We discussed statins in an earlier health tip, but in case you missed it, I’ll review. Crestor is the newest of the statin drugs. Everybody knew it would lower cholesterol, but lowering cholesterol per se doesn’t seem to prevent heart disease. Stuck with a cholesterol-lowering product just when it’s becoming passé to lower cholesterol, researchers were curious about what would happen if they gave it to people with completely normal cholesterol levels. So they did.

Dividing several thousand patients regardless of cholesterol, high or low, into two groups, they gave one group a standard 10-mg dose of Crestor and the other a placebo. After a couple of years, they found that Crestor, even when taken by someone with a perfectly normal or even low cholesterol, reduced heart attack risk. (Everything has a price: there was a slight increase in cancer among the Crestor users, possibly because statin drugs block your body from making the antioxidant Coenzyme Q 10).

Crestor worked not by lowering cholesterol, but by reducing inflammation. It’s the inflammation inside your arteries that predisposes your cholesterol (no matter how low) to deposit itself as artery-blocking plaque. To measure inflammation in the test subjects, researchers measured blood levels of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein (CRP) and indeed Crestor did lower it.

This news came out the same week that extensive research poo-poo’d the heart-protecting effects of vitamins C and E. With this study result, Crestor is now poised to become “the new and really effective Vitamin C.” I can see their next ad: “Toss your Vitamin C and start taking Crestor.” (Don’t do it. Vitamin C is good for a lot of other stuff in your body.)

So, you sensibly ask, should everyone be taking Crestor? For a straight answer, it’s probably best not to look to our starry-eyed Crestor rep. Personally, with a normal cholesterol level, I certainly wouldn’t. Here are several reasons why:

• Statins are not the safest drugs on the planet. They cause a variety of side effects, including alteration of liver enzymes, muscle cramps, digestive problems, and change in mental functioning.

• You may not have a problem with inflammation. To check inflammation, you can ask your doctor for a hs-CRP (high sensitivity-CRP) test. The test costs about $50, but be aware many insurance companies won’t pay for it. Some of your inflammatory risk is genetic, some lifestyle-driven. Dr Andrew Weil describes a healthy low inflammation diet here. The diet itself is quite tasty, but you’ll need to abandon your cigarettes, Little Debbies, and corn dogs, all inflammation boosters.

• Keep in mind that the Crestor study went head-to-head against a placebo. Plain old penny-per-tablet aspirin, a proven preventer of heart disease, is also an anti-inflammatory. Just take the heart-protecting dose of 81 mg a day. If you’re sensitive to aspirin or simply prefer a non-drug solution, my personal favorite anti-inflammatory is the spice turmeric, available as Circumin Plus in a convenient once-a-day capsule here. You can also add turmeric to many foods. Try it in scrambled eggs or sprinkled on pizza.

Meantime, don’t hold your breath waiting for a Crestor-vs-aspirin or Crestor-vs-turmeric study to headline any time soon. These studies are generally funded by drug companies and they’ll never pay for a study in which their product might be proved inferior to a kitchen spice.

Leave a Comment


  1. Nancy Bachelder says:

    I am taking Crestor. My Dr. put me on it 3 months ago and told me to join weight watchers. I would like to get off Crestor and take a herbal product Dr. Oz recommends called Garcinia Cambodia. I know I shouldn’t do both. Can I stop cold turkey without it hurting me. /And how long should I waitbefore starting the weight loss tablets.

  2. Dr E says:

    Hi
    Actually the closest natural product to Crestor that lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice which is available at most health food stores. I do suggest discussing this change with your primary care physician
    Dr E

  3. Jane Peters says:

    Thanks for the advice. I have been taking Crestor for the past 26 years and I’ve noticed for a while now that my fingers and left hand cramps sometimes, also my legs muscles hurts and lately I am getting stomach cramps but I never thought it would be Crestor causing all these problems. Tomorrow I am going to my family to change my medication. What medication should I really take? I am thinking about just taking asperin.

    Once again thanks a lot.

    Jane

  4. Grahamawebb@gmail.com says:

    Crestor

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • Functional Medicine 101 + Introducing Dr. Parisa Samsami

    Functional Medicine (FM) is without a doubt the fastest growing medical specialty of the 21st century. Public interest and broad public acceptance of it continue to please me. Every day I hear the sentence, “I made this appointment because I wanted a functional approach.” When I ask patients how they learned about it, the answer is a variation on Dr. Google. Here at WholeHealth Chicago we’ve Read More

  • The Flu Shot: Now More Important Than Ever

    When it comes to the flu shot, I take a far more conventional approach than many WholeHealth Chicago patients expect of a doctor who considers himself alternative/integrative. It’s also worth noting that after reviewing some of the online advice warning people away from the flu shot, it’s my sense that this is frequently followed by “…and this is my product you can buy instead.” So Read More

  • Lyme Disease In Your Nervous System: Three Cases

    “Why am I limiting this to only three cases?” I wondered. Physicians who treat Lyme, like our group at WholeHealth Chicago where we see a lot of Lyme disease patients, would tell you there are so many manifestations of Lyme when it invades the nervous system that I really should list as many as possible. But to keep this Health Tip manageable, we’ll keep it Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!