Lipitor was the most frequently prescribed brand-name drug in the United States last year, with 50 million prescriptions being filled. Vytorin was right up there, with 20 million. Add in all the other statins and you’re up to an amazing 150 million.
As you might expect, we’ve had a fair amount of discussion in the eDrugSearch.com Community about statin drugs, which are used for the treatment of high cholesterol. People are most interested in understanding and comparing the benefits of Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor. Zocor is currently available in generic form in the U.S., but the other two drugs are not.
Vytorin, of course, is on the outs these days after research showed in January that this combination drug (essentially a combination of Zocor and Zetia) is no more effective than generic Zocor alone (simvastin).
One juicy morsel in John McCain’s recently released medical records is that he switched from Vytorin to simvastin after the study came out.
So, of the statins, should you go with Lipitor, Zocor or Crestor? As always, the reaction of individuals to different treatments varies widely, so what often happens is a doctor starts you on one, and if it’s ineffective or you experience side effects, he switches you to another.
Dr. Nicholas Browning provides a nice overview of the benefits of statins in this column in The Union newspaper of Grass Valley, Calif. A recent Houston Chronicle column, however, focuses more on the side effects of these drugs — principally muscle pain and weakness — and says that doctors too often downplay these negatives.
Although your doctor should help you decide which statin to try first, Crestor has been shown to be the most effective statin for lowering LDL cholesterol, followed by Lipitor and then Zocor. However, the side effects for Crestor may be more pronounced in some patients.
Unfortunately, even though your doctor may wish to put you on Crestor or Lipitor, insurance companies often push doctors hard to prescribe generics. We encourage you to use the best drug for you.