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If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend treatment with Crestor or Lipitor. Both drugs treat high cholesterol in adults and some children.
In addition, Crestor and Lipitor are used to help prevent serious cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problems in certain adults.
Crestor and Lipitor are very similar drugs. They both come as tablets that you swallow. But these drugs do have some differences in how they’re used. To learn more, see the “What are Lipitor and Crestor used for?” section below.
Keep reading to learn more about the differences between Lipitor and Crestor.
You may experience mild or serious side effects from either Lipitor or Crestor. These drugs can cause many similar side effects but also a few different ones.
Note: For more information about the possible side effects of Lipitor, see this article.
Mild side effects
Lipitor and Crestor may cause mild side effects in some people. The chart below lists examples of mild side effects that have been reported in separate studies of these drugs.
|Feeling weak or unwell
|Urinary tract infection (UTI)
|Stuffy or runny nose
|High level of liver enzymes*
|Increased blood sugar
|Pain in your arms, hands, feet, or legs
|Ringing in your ears
* This side effect usually doesn’t cause symptoms, but your doctor may note it on a lab test. In rare cases, high liver enzyme levels can be a sign of liver problems, such as liver damage.
Serious side effects
In addition to the mild side effects described above, serious side effects may occur in people using Lipitor or Crestor. See the chart below for a list of side effects that have been reported with these drugs.
|Immune-mediated necrotizing myositis
To learn more about serious side effects these drugs may cause and your specific risk for them, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Lipitor and Crestor.
How will my doctor determine whether Lipitor or Crestor is better for me?
Whether Crestor or Lipitor is better for you depends on several factors that your doctor will consider. These factors include:
- the condition that Lipitor or Crestor is used to treat
- your cholesterol levels or risk of heart and blood vessel problems before beginning treatment
- side effects you may experience from either medication
Studies have found both Crestor and Lipitor to be effective for treating certain types of high cholesterol or reducing certain heart-related risks. To learn more, see the “How effective are Lipitor and Crestor?” section below.
If you have other questions about whether Crestor or Lipitor may be right for you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Do Lipitor and Crestor cause hair loss?
A few people have reported hair loss during Lipitor treatment. But it isn’t known for sure whether the drug was the cause.
If you experience hair loss that concerns you while taking either Lipitor or Crestor, talk with your doctor.
You may be wondering whether it’s possible to convert from Crestor or Lipitor if you’re prescribed either drug.
The short answer: Yes.
If you want to switch from one of these drugs to the other, your doctor or pharmacist can determine the dosage conversion.
But keep in mind that your body may respond differently to the new drug, even though the two drugs are very similar.
Reminder: You should not switch drugs or stop your current treatment unless your doctor recommends it. If you’re prescribed Crestor or Lipitor and are interested in switching to a different medication, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
You may wonder whether Lipitor or Crestor is available as a generic.
A generic drug is an exact copy of the active ingredient in a brand-name medication. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
To find out whether Lipitor or Crestor is available as a generic, see the list below.
- Available as a generic: Yes
- Active ingredient: atorvastatin
- Available as a generic: Yes
- Active ingredient: rosuvastatin
If you’ve been prescribed Lipitor or Crestor and are interested in taking the generic version instead, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Both Lipitor and Crestor are prescribed to treat high cholesterol in certain adults. See the chart below for more details on the uses of each drug. (And to learn about the conditions these drugs treat in children, see “Lipitor and Crestor’s use in children” below.)
|Lowering cholesterol in adults with certain kinds of high cholesterol, including a genetic (inherited) condition called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)
|Lowering triglycerides in adults with high triglyceride levels
Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) that your body naturally produces. Your body needs cholesterol for many essential functions, including making certain hormones. Your body also creates what are called lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol throughout your body.
Crestor and Lipitor are both statin drugs, which are commonly prescribed to treat high cholesterol.
In addition to the uses described above, Crestor and Lipitor are both prescribed to help prevent serious cardiovascular problems. Specifically, Crestor or Lipitor can be used to:
- lower the risk of certain cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel) problems, such as heart attack
- reduce the need for certain types of heart surgeries
Crestor is also approved to slow the progression of a condition called atherosclerosis. Lipitor isn’t approved for this use, but it may be prescribed off label* for this purpose.
* Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.
Lipitor and Crestor’s use in children
Both Lipitor and Crestor are approved for use in certain children. See the chart below for details.
|Lowering cholesterol in children with a genetic (inherited) condition called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)
|Used in children ages 6 years and older
|Used in children ages 7 years and older
|Lowering cholesterol in children with a genetic condition called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH)
|Used in children ages 10 years and older
|Used in children ages 8 years and older
Here’s an overview of the dosage and how you’ll take Lipitor and Crestor for the conditions they treat or prevent.
Dosage for lowering cholesterol and helping prevent serious cardiovascular problems
|tablet that you swallow
|tablet that you swallow
|• 10 milligrams (mg)
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
• 80 mg
|• 5 mg
• 10 mg
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
|10 mg to 80 mg, depending on your treatment plan
|5 mg to 40 mg, depending on your treatment plan
|How often to take
|once per day
|once per day
To learn more about Lipitor’s dosage, see this in-depth article. Your doctor or pharmacist can also provide dosage information.
Both Lipitor and Crestor are prescribed to treat high cholesterol in certain adults and children. They’re also used to lower the risk of certain heart and blood vessel problems, and to reduce the need for certain heart surgeries.
The chart below details these conditions, guidelines about treating them, and whether Lipitor, Crestor, or both are recommended.
|Helping prevent serious cardiovascular problems
It’s important to note that your results from Lipitor or Crestor may differ from those seen in studies. Talk with your doctor about whether one of these drugs is right for you. And if you’d like to read more about how each drug performed in studies, see the prescribing information for Lipitor and Crestor.
Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering these drugs. To find out how much you may pay for these drugs, visit Optum Perks for price estimates of Lipitor and Crestor. But keep in mind that what you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your treatment plan, health insurance, and the pharmacy you use.
Lipitor and Crestor are both brand-name drugs. These drugs also both have generic forms. You’ll usually pay more for brand-name drugs than for generics. If you’re interested in using the generic form of either drug, talk with your doctor.
Lipitor and Crestor may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Here, these are referred to as warnings. The two drugs share some of the same warnings, but they also have different ones. Some of these warnings are mentioned below.
Before using Lipitor or Crestor, talk with your doctor if any of the following conditions or health factors apply to you.
- Warnings for Lipitor:
- Warnings for Crestor:
- if you are of Asian descent
- Warnings for both Lipitor and Crestor:
- if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients
- if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed
- if you have a liver problem, such as alcoholic liver disease
- if you have a kidney condition, such as chronic kidney disease
- if you regularly drink alcohol
- if you have a thyroid problem, such as underactive thyroid
- if you have diabetes
If you have questions about Lipitor or Crestor, including how the drugs compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some examples to help get you started include:
- If I have side effects from either Lipitor or Crestor, should I try taking the other drug instead?
- If my insurance coverage changes, would it make sense for me to switch from Lipitor to Crestor or vice versa?
- How will I know if Lipitor or Crestor works better for me?
To learn more about Lipitor or Crestor, see these articles:
- All About Lipitor
- The uses and risks of Crestor
- Side Effects of Lipitor: What You Need to Know
- Dosage for Lipitor: What You Need to Know
- Lipitor Interactions: Alcohol, Medications, and Others
To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.