Crestor, which is the brand name for rosuvastatin, and simvastatin are both cholesterol-lowering drugs. They belong to a group of drugs called statins. They can help to slow or even prevent the buildup of plaque. Statins do this by blocking an enzyme in your liver to help prevent your body from making too much cholesterol.
When your cholesterol level is too high, the excess cholesterol can accumulate in your blood vessels and form buildup called plaque. This plaque can start to affect your blood flow and your blood pressure. It can also break off and travel to more narrow blood vessels, where it can get stuck and block the blood flow. This could lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Although simvastatin and Crestor work the same way, they are different in ways that might specifically affect you. Check out the areas in which they differ below.
Simvastatin costs less than Crestor. Simvastatin is a generic drug, and Crestor is a brand-name drug. Crestor is available as a generic drug, but the generic version is still more expensive than simvastatin. Both drugs are available in a range of doses in most pharmacies.
Both Crestor and simvastatin come in a range of strengths. However, the doses between Crestor and simvastatin are not equivalent. Crestor is a lot more potent. For example, 40 mg is a high dose of simvastatin, but you would get that same dose of Crestor in about 10 mg.
Some people have to switch between cholesterol drugs before finding the right one, so knowing that the dosage can be very different is important. Always take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you for each drug.
A large observational study in France looked at more than 100,000 patients without heart disease. These people had taken either 20 mg of simvastatin or 5 mg of Crestor every day for an average of about three years. Researchers found that both drugs were equally effective at preventing heart attack and stroke.
If you need low- to moderate-intensity treatment to reduce cholesterol, simvastatin may be the right choice. If your LDL cholesterol level is very high, you may need a high-intensity treatment.
Simvastatin can be as effective as Crestor, but it interacts with more drugs. Drug interactions can increase your risk of side effects from simvastatin. For more information, read about interactions with simvastatin and interactions with Crestor.
If you’re taking a number of medications, it could be more complicated to manage them while taking simvastatin. Sometimes your doctor might have to change the dose of one or more drugs.
Muscle aches and pains
Both simvastatin and Crestor can cause muscle aching and pain, but this side effect is more likely with simvastatin. The pain may develop over a few days or weeks. It may feel like you pulled or strained a muscle.
Muscle aches and pain while taking statins could be a sign of muscle damage. It’s important to tell your doctor right away if you take one of these drugs and have muscle aches or pains. Muscle damage that isn’t treated could lead to kidney damage.
If you have severe kidney disease, you may need a different dose of either simvastatin or Crestor. Talk to your doctor before taking either of these drugs.
You may also feel fatigued when taking either of these drugs. According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, women have a substantial risk of fatigue when taking statins. This risk was greater in women who took simvastatin compared with women who took other statins. Crestor was not included in the study, however.
Talk to your doctor
Simvastatin and Crestor are both drugs your doctor may prescribe for high cholesterol. At a glance, the drugs are equally effective. However, simvastatin is less expensive, more likely to cause muscle pain, and more likely to interact with other substances.
If your doctor recommends that you take simvastatin or Crestor, understand that several considerations go into recommending a specific statin. Each person is different and has different health risks. These risks influence the decision about which statin might be best.
Tell your doctor if you take several other drugs or have kidney disease. If you already take a statin and have side effects such as muscle pain or dark urine, discuss these issues with your doctor as well. They can check your lab work and adjust your treatment to help prevent problems.