The cholesterol-lowering medication Crestor (rosuvastatin) was the most prescribed medication in the United States during the last 12 months. As reported by Medscape Medical News in response to research completed by IMS Health.
Crestor topped the list of the most prescribed medications, with 23.7 million prescriptions. In terms of sales, Crestor was 5th on the list with total sales of 5.3 billion USD.
One of the reasons why Crestor has become so popular, is the JUPITER trial. In 2008, pharmaceutical companies and much of the world's media trumpeted the results of the JUPITER trial, which involved the use of Crestor for people with elevated levels of C-reactive Protein (a marker of systemic inflammation).
The results of the JUPITER trial are summarised below in the video excerpt from $TATIN NATION. An honest assessment of the published trial data shows that Crestor did not provide any meaningful benefit. That's before we even start to look at the adverse effects of Crestor, which included an increase in the risk for type 2 diabetes. However, the situation is even worse than we think.
An article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 questioned the validity of the data from the JUPITER trial and raised concerns about the role of the company sponsoring the trial. Another article published in the journal Cardiology in 2011 raised similar concerns . Unfortunately, these critical papers were not given the same prominence within the medical journals as was given to the JUPITER trial results and were not mentioned in the mainstream media at all.
So, we have a situation where the most prescribed medication in the United States is causing more harm than good, and is being prescribed on heavily spun, highly questionable data. The questioning of the trial data has been ignored and millions of people just keep taking the medication.
Ridker, PM et al, for the JUPITER Study Group. Rosuvastatin to Prevent Vascular Events in Men and Women with Elevated C-Reactive Protein. N Engl J Med 2008; 359:2195-207.
de Lorgeril, M et al. Cholesterol lowering, cardiovascular diseases, and the rosuvastatin-JUPITER controversy. A critical reappraisal. Arch Intern Med. 2010; 170:1032-1036.
Serebruany, VL. Extreme all-cause mortality in JUPITER requires reexamination of vital records. Cardiology. 2011; 120:84-8