Side Effects of Crestor

Medically reviewed by Darren Hein, PharmD on December 14, 2016Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on December 14, 2016

About Crestor

Crestor is a HMG-CoA inhibitor, also known as a statin. Drugs in this class help treat high cholesterol by blocking a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. They also work with your liver to break down the cholesterol already in your blood.

Crestor is a prescription medication used along with dietary changes to lower your level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Crestor also helps increase your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol. Additionally, the drug helps lower the level of triglyceride (fat in your blood) and slow the buildup of plaque in the walls of blood vessels.

Crestor can help prevent heart disease, heart attack, and stroke in some people. However, sometimes it causes unwanted side effects. Learn what they are and tips to ease or stop them.

Crestor side effects

Crestor may create some mild side effects, though you may not experience any. Serious side effects may also be possible, but they are less common. Other side effects are rare.

Common side effects can include:

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • stomach pain
  • feeling weak
  • nausea

Serious side effects

Muscle breakdown: You may experience muscle pain, tenderness, and weakness while taking Crestor. This comes from the breakdown of the muscles attached to your bones (skeletal muscles). It can be serious. This effect may also lead to severe kidney damage from the buildup of protein from the muscle tissue that is processed through your kidneys.

Your chance of muscle breakdown is higher if you:

  • take certain other medicines while you take Crestor
  • are 65 years old or older
  • have hypothyroidism that isn’t controlled
  • have kidney problems
  • are taking a higher dose of Crestor than is typically prescribed

Talk to your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pains, tenderness or weakness, especially if you have a fever or feel more tired than usual while you take Crestor. Your doctor may have you stop taking Crestor. If you have muscle problems that don’t go away even after you stop taking Crestor, let your doctor know.

Liver disease: Liver disease can also be a severe side effect of Crestor. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver before you start taking Crestor. They should also do these tests if you have symptoms of liver disease while you take the drug. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms of liver disease:

  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in your upper abdomen
  • dark urine
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

Rare side effects

Crestor may cause your blood sugar level to increase. In some cases, this may lead to type 2 diabetes. Some people have developed memory loss or confusion while taking Crestor. All of these side effects of Crestor are rare, but they should be mentioned.

Reducing side effects

If you do have side effects, you can take steps to help relieve them or even make them go away. Talk to your doctor about the following actions:

Slow down when you exercise. If you exercise more vigorously than usual while taking Crestor, your risk of muscle injury may be higher. It is best to change your exercise routine gradually. Exercise may cause muscle pain, so it may sometimes be hard to know if your pain is from heavy exercise or from taking Crestor.

Take a short break. Stopping Crestor for a short time can help you decide whether your aches and pains are due to the medicine or something else. Talk to your doctor before you stop taking your medicine, however.

Change your dose. Lowering your dose may reduce some of your side effects. But, it may also reduce some of the cholesterol-lowering benefits. Another option may be to take Crestor every other day. Your doctor needs to approve these dosage changes before you try them.

Switch to another statin drug. It’s possible that switching statins may reduce your side effects. If nothing else has worked, talk to your doctor about trying a different cholesterol drug.

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