Rosuvastatin belongs to a group of medicines called statins. It works by working on the liver to stop it making cholesterol.
Rosuvastatin comes as tablets. It is available on prescription.
Who can take rosuvastatin
Most adults and children aged 6 years and over can take rosuvastatin.
Rosuvastatin is not suitable for some people. To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to rosuvastatin or any other medicine
- have liver or kidney problems
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding
- have lung disease
- have ever had a muscle disorder (including fibromyalgia), or a close relative has had a muscle disorder
- have an underactive thyroid
- have had problems with your muscles when taking a statin or another cholesterol lowering medicine in the past
- regularly drink large amounts of alcohol
Your dose of rosuvastatin will depend on why you need it, your cholesterol levels, and other medicines you may already be taking.
The usual dose for adults is:
- to prevent heart attacks and strokes – 20mg, taken once a day, although sometimes a lower dose is prescribed. If you have very high cholesterol and are at high risk of heart attacks or strokes, a specialist may prescribe 40mg a day. This dose is not suitable for everyone
- high cholesterol – 5mg to 10mg, taken once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose every 4 weeks up to 20mg a day
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you're unsure how much to take.
The maximum dose for children is 20mg a day. Your child's doctor will work out the right dose of rosuvastatin for your child. This will depend on why they need it, their age and any other medicines they are already taking.
How to take it
You'll usually take rosuvastatin once a day. You can take it at any time, but it's best to take it at the same time every day.
Rosuvastatin will not usually upset your stomach, so you can take it with or without food.
Swallow rosuvastatin tablets whole with a drink of water.
How long to take it for
You'll usually take rosuvastatin for life. The benefits of the medicine will only continue for as long as you take it.
You may want to stop rosuvastatin if you think you're having side effects. Talk to your doctor first to see if it really is a side effect of rosuvastatin or an unrelated problem. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose or change your medicine.
If you want to stop taking your medicine, it's important to find another way to lower your cholesterol.
If you forget to take it
If you forget to take a dose of rosuvastatin, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for the forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
If you take too much
Taking an extra dose of rosuvastatin is unlikely to harm you. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you're worried or if you take more than 1 extra dose.
Common side effects
These common side effects of rosuvastatin happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help cope with them:
If the advice on how to cope does not help and any of these side effects bother you or do not go away, keep taking the medicine, but tell your doctor or pharmacist. They may recommend trying an alternative statin.
Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people.
Stop taking rosuvastatin and call a doctor or contact 111 if:
- you get unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps – these can be signs of muscle breakdown and kidney damage. This can happen a few weeks or months after you first start taking this medicine. Tell your doctor about any unexplained muscle aches and pains, tenderness or weakness straight away
- the whites of your eyes turn yellow, or your skin turns yellow although this may be less obvious on brown or black skin, or if you have pale poo and dark pee – these can be signs of liver problems
- you have severe stomach pain – this can be a sign of acute pancreatitis
- you have a cough, shortness of breath and weight loss – these can be signs of lung disease
- you get a skin rash with pink-red blotches, especially on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet – this could be a sign of erythema multiforme
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to rosuvastatin.
These are not all the side effects of rosuvastatin. For a full list, see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
Rosuvastatin and pregnancy
Rosuvastatin is not recommended in pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking rosuvastatin, stop taking the medicine and tell your doctor.
Also talk to your doctor if you are planning to get pregnant. Whether you continue taking rosuvastatin or not depends on the reason why you are taking it. It may be possible to switch to a medicine that is better during pregnancy.
Your doctor may decide that it is better for you to keep taking rosuvastatin until you have a positive pregnancy test and then stop.
It might be OK to take rosuvastatin while breastfeeding, but you might also be told to stop taking your medicine until you have stopped breastfeeding. Your doctor or pharmacist will help you decide.
There is some information which shows that rosuvastatin passes into breast milk in very small amounts. It's unlikely to cause any side effects in your baby, or affect their cholesterol.
If you notice that your baby is not feeding as well as usual, or is not putting on weight as you would expect, or if you have any other concerns about your baby, talk to your health visitor, midwife, pharmacist, or doctor as soon as possible.
Rosuvastatin and fertility
There's no evidence to suggest that taking rosuvastatin reduces fertility in either men or women. But if you're trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor first.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines can affect the way that rosuvastatin works, and increase the chances of you having side effects.
Tell your doctor if you're taking any of these medicines:
- antibiotics, such as erythromycin or fusidic acid
- some antiviral medicines used to treat infections such as HIV and hepatitis
- medicine for indigestion, such as Gaviscon
- medicines that help to prevent blood clots, such as clopidogrel or warfarin
- ciclosporin, used to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis
- contraceptive pills, such as the combined pill
- hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- other medicines, called fibrates, used to lower cholesterol
If you're taking rosuvastatin and need to take one of these medicines, your doctor may:
- prescribe a lower dose of rosuvastatin
- prescribe a different statin
- recommend that you stop taking rosuvastatin for a while
These are not all the medicines that can affect rosuvastatin. For a full list, see the leaflet inside your medicine packet or check with your pharmacist.
There's some interest in taking Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) together with statins. But there's no clear evidence that taking CoQ10 at the same time as rosuvastatin will benefit your health. More research is needed.
If you decide to take a CoQ10 supplement, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Supplements can affect any other medicines you are also taking.
There's not enough information to say that other complementary medicines and herbal remedies are safe to take with rosuvastatin. They're not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They're generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines.
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