Lipitor: 50 million prescriptions can’t be wrong, right?

Lipitor vs. Crestor vs. ZocorLipitor 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 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.

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Comments (8)

What kind of study was used to show Crestor was more effective than Zocor or Lipitor? Can my body really tell the difference between a 20mg tablet of Crestor and a 40mg tablet of Zocor? How large was the sample of the study? How large was the significance of difference? Thank you

is zocor 40 mg the same as crestor 40 mg. im just asking. my dr i fell dont have a clue whats is going on. he changes me about a ever 60 days. so please expaln if crestor and zocor is the smae or very darn close to it. just need to know.

thank you


how zocor is better than lipitor & for a long term use which is safer as dose increases

I was taking 80 lipitor 1000 niaspan and zetia Chlostral dropped to lower than 100 I got the flu legs starting hurting very bad when I walked went off all chlostral drugs and now by chlostral is going up doctor wants me to switch to Crestor 40 — I would like to be off of all drugs however, my body does create chlostral. HELP

Our insurance charges over twice as much for no generic as for generic so I would like to know if the side effects with Zocor (Simvastin) are any worse than with Crestor? I now take Crestor 10 mg and it is working well but can’t afford it.


My wife and I take Amlodipine 5 mg for blood pressure. Mine also has Benazepril 20 mg and my wife takes Hydrochlorot 12.5 mg with hers.
She doesn’t hold water and doesn’t urinate any more when she takes them than when she doesn’t so I was wondering why she takes a water pill and I don’t?


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I think the lower dosage the better, if you have a family history of hc like I do then it’s worth asking your dr if you can try a lower dose of a stronger statin than take a high dosage of a weaker statin. That’s just my opinion anyway.

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