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Crestor vs Pravastatin

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Crestor Information

Pravastatin Information

Comparative Analysis

Crestor Prescription Information

Pravastatin Prescription Information

Crestor Side Effects

Pravastatin Side Effects

Safety Information

Cost Information

Market Information



For individuals with high cholesterol or other types of heart-related conditions, certain medications that alter the concentration of lipids in the body can aid in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular diseases. Crestor and Pravastatin are two such drugs that are prescribed for managing high cholesterol levels. Both of these medications belong to a group of drugs known as statins, but they each have different impacts on the body's lipid profiles. Crestor (Rosuvastatin) has been known to significantly lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and increase HDL (good cholesterol) more efficiently than other statins. Pravastatin, on the other hand, has a lesser impact on LDL levels but is often chosen for its less frequent interactions with other medications and its safety profile in patients with liver problems.

Crestor vs Pravastatin Side By Side

Brand NameCrestorPravachol
ContraindicationsShould not be taken with certain antifungal medications, macrolide antibiotics, or protease inhibitors. Use with caution if you have a history of liver disease or consume large amounts of alcohol.Should not be taken with certain antifungal medications, macrolide antibiotics, or protease inhibitors. Use with caution if you have a history of liver disease or consume large amounts of alcohol.
CostFor the brand name, around $200 for 30 tablets of 10 mg. For the generic, rosuvastatin, approximately $0.30 to $1.00 per day for dosages of 10 mg/day.For the brand name, about $90 for 30 tablets of 20 mg. For the generic, pravastatin, starting from as low as $0.10/day to about $0.40/day.
Generic NameRosuvastatinPravastatin
Most Serious Side EffectSigns of liver disease, unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, signs of kidney problems, chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats, confusion, memory problems, signs of a stroke.Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, signs of liver problems, unusual fatigue or weakness, muscle pain/tenderness/weakness, changes in the amount of urine, reddish-brown colored urine.
Severe Drug InteractionsCertain antifungal medications, macrolide antibiotics, protease inhibitors.Certain antifungal medications, macrolide antibiotics, protease inhibitors.
Typical Dose5-40 mg/day, with 10 mg/day being adequate for lowering LDL cholesterol in most adults.40 mg per day, taken orally, with a maximum daily dosage of 80 mg.

What is Crestor?

Rosuvastatin (the generic name for Crestor) and Pravastatin are both part of the statin class of cholesterol-lowering medications, which marked a significant advancement over previous treatments for high cholesterol. Rosuvastatin was first approved by the FDA in 2003. Crestor works by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver, reducing the production of cholesterol. It is prescribed for the treatment of high cholesterol and to reduce the risk of heart disease. Crestor is more potent and typically results in a more significant decrease in LDL cholesterol than Pravastatin. However, both drugs have relatively minor side effects, with muscle pain being the most common. Pravastatin has less potential for drug interactions than Rosuvastatin and is often chosen for patients taking multiple medications.

What conditions is Crestor approved to treat?

Crestor is approved for the treatment of several conditions related to cholesterol and heart disease:

  • Primary hyperlipidemia and mixed dyslipidemia, which are conditions characterized by abnormal levels of blood lipids
  • Hypertriglyceridemia, a condition where there is an excess level of triglycerides in the bloodstream
  • Adult patients with hypercholesterolemia who have not responded adequately to diet.

Pravastatin has similar uses but is also specifically indicated for:

  • Prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with clinically evident coronary heart disease
  • Reducing the risk of undergoing myocardial revascularization procedures (procedures used to restore blood flow through blocked arteries)
  • Slowing down the progression or promoting regression of atherosclerosis.

How does Crestor help with these illnesses?

Crestor aids in managing high cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase in the liver, which plays a crucial role in the production of cholesterol. By blocking this enzyme, the production of cholesterol is reduced, allowing levels to be maintained at a healthier range for longer periods of time. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is essential for the normal functioning of the body, including the formation of cell membranes and certain hormones, and is also involved in fat digestion. However, high levels of cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, can lead to the development of heart disease. Therefore, by reducing cholesterol production, Crestor can limit the negative effects of high cholesterol and help patients manage their condition and maintain their cardiovascular health.

What is Pravastatin?

Pravastatin, also known by its brand name Pravachol, is a member of the statin class of drugs and is designed to inhibit the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase. This enzyme plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver. As such, pravastatin is used to lower levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and raise levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL) in the blood. Pravastatin was first approved by the FDA in 1991. Unlike Crestor (rosuvastatin), pravastatin is less likely to enter non-liver tissues and therefore less likely to cause muscle pain, a common side effect of statins. Pravastatin may be more beneficial for patients who are at risk of experiencing side effects from other statin medications, like Crestor. Its effects on cholesterol can be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease, particularly in patients who have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease.

What conditions is Pravastatin approved to treat?

Pravastatin is an FDA-approved medication used for managing:

  • High cholesterol and triglycerides, which can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD), either as a preventive measure in high-risk individuals who have not yet developed CHD, or to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and strokes in individuals already diagnosed with CHD.

How does Pravastatin help with these illnesses?

Pravastatin, like Crestor, is a statin drug that plays a crucial role in managing cholesterol levels within the body. It functions by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme responsible for producing cholesterol in the liver. The reduction of this enzymatic activity leads to lower amounts of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream while increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol.

The action of pravastatin on lipid metabolism may also play roles in its effectiveness as a heart disease preventative measure. Since it does not significantly affect other physiological processes, it is often prescribed when a patient has not responded well to non-statin lipid-lowering medications (such as fibrates), has specific risk factors for heart disease or stroke, or along with lifestyle changes such as diet modification and exercise.

How effective are both Crestor and Pravastatin?

Both rosuvastatin (Crestor) and pravastatin have established histories of success in treating patients with high cholesterol, and they were initially approved by the FDA within a few years of each other. Since they act on the same enzymatic pathway, they may be prescribed under similar circumstances. The effectiveness of rosuvastatin and pravastatin in lowering cholesterol was directly studied in a double-blind clinical trial in 2003; the two drugs exhibited similar efficacy in managing symptoms of high cholesterol as well as similar, promising safety profiles. In this study, none of the different metrics studied to measure efficacy in treating high cholesterol differed significantly between patients receiving rosuvastatin and those receiving pravastatin.

A 2006 review of meta-analysis reports on rosuvastatin demonstrated that it is effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol starting from the first week of treatment, that its side effect profile is favorable over many other statins, and that it is well-tolerated even in elderly populations. The same study reports that rosuvastatin has become one of the most-widely prescribed statin drugs in the world. Further, as it was one of the later statins developed, there is a significant history and study of its effectiveness in treating high cholesterol. The dose showing optimal efficacy is thought to be 10-20 mg/day, and beyond alleviating symptoms of high cholesterol, it also appears to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A 2016 review and meta-analysis indicated that pravastatin seems to be more effective than placebo in treating high cholesterol, and that it seems to be similar in efficacy to other common statins. Nonetheless, pravastatin is typically considered a second-line treatment option, meaning it is generally considered only after (or as an addition to) other first-line treatments. Significant research on its use involves pravastatin co-prescribed alongside other statins, so data confirming its efficacy as a stand-alone treatment is less robust than that for rosuvastatin. Further, the evidence to support pravastatin as significantly augmenting the effect of other statins is still generally lacking. Nonetheless, due to its unique pharmacology, pravastatin may be an optimal treatment for patients who did not respond well to other statins or have a particular need to avoid common side effects of statins, such as muscle pain or weakness.

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At what dose is Crestor typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Crestor range from 5-40 mg/day, but research indicates that a dose of 10 mg/day is adequate for lowering LDL cholesterol in most adults. Some patients might be started on 5 mg/day if they are older or have kidney disease. Dosage can be adjusted after several weeks depending on the patient's response and tolerance. However, under no circumstance should the daily dosage exceed 40 mg. On the other hand, Pravastatin doses vary between 10-80mg/day with initial treatment often starting at around 40mg per day for adults to control high cholesterol levels. The doctor may adjust this dosage after reviewing its effect on your body over a few weeks. In any case, the maximum daily dosage should not surpass 80mg.

At what dose is Pravastatin typically prescribed?

Pravastatin therapy is usually initiated at a dosage of 40 mg per day, taken orally. If necessary, the dose can be increased to a maximum daily dosage of 80 mg, divided into two doses that are administered approximately twelve hours apart. For patients who do not show any signs of improvement or have an inadequate response to the treatment after several weeks on the initial dose, the doctor may consider increasing it gradually while monitoring for side effects closely. Always remember that changes in medication dosages should never be made without consulting with your healthcare provider first.

What are the most common side effects for Crestor?

Common potential side effects of Crestor and Pravastatin include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
  • Muscle aches or weakness (can be severe)
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Flushing (warmth, redness, tingling)
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abnormal liver function tests

It's important to note that both medications require regular blood tests to monitor your liver function. If you experience any symptoms such as unusual tiredness or weakness, loss of appetite, dark colored urine or yellowing of the skin/eyes while taking these drugs contact your doctor immediately.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Crestor?

While Crestor and Pravastatin are both effective cholesterol-lowering medications, they do have potential side effects that can be serious in rare cases.

  • Signs of allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Symptoms of liver disease: unusual fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have a fever or general body discomfort
  • Signs of kidney problems: little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath
  • Chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats
  • Confusion, memory problems, or lack of energy
  • Signs of a stroke: sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Crestor or Pravastatin, seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Pravastatin?

Pravastatin, similar to Crestor, is used for the treatment of high cholesterol and triglycerides. Some side effects which are associated with Pravastatin include:

  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach upset or abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • A rare but serious side effect includes liver problems manifesting as loss of appetite or an unusually fast heartbeat.

It should be noted that these symptoms should not persist and if they do it would be advisable to consult your doctor promptly. In addition, any signs of confusion or significant unexplained weight loss should also warrant immediate medical attention.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Pravastatin?

Pravastatin, while generally well-tolerated and effective for lowering cholesterol levels, can occasionally have serious side effects. Some signs that you may need to seek immediate medical help include:

  • Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swelling in your face or throat
  • Signs of liver problems like yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine or severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • Unusual fatigue or weakness
  • Muscle pain/tenderness/weakness (especially with fever)
  • Changes in the amount of urine
  • Reddish-brown colored urine due to myoglobinuria (a rare condition where muscle breakdown products are excreted into the urine).

If you notice any of these symptoms after starting Pravastatin therapy, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Contraindications for Crestor and Pravastatin?

Both Crestor and Pravastatin, like most cholesterol-lowering medications, may cause muscle pain and weakness in some individuals. If you notice any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if accompanied by fever or a general sense of unwellness, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Crestor nor Pravastatin should be taken if you are taking certain antifungal medications, macrolide antibiotics, or protease inhibitors. Always inform your physician about all the medications you are currently taking; certain drugs may need a period of time to clear from your system to prevent dangerous interactions with Crestor and Pravastatin.

Furthermore, both these medications should be used with caution if you have a history of liver disease or consume large amounts of alcohol. Regular liver function tests may be required to monitor your body's response to these medications.

How much do Crestor and Pravastatin cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 30 tablets of Crestor (10 mg) averages around $200, which works out to approximately $6.67/day.
  • The price of 30 tablets of Pravachol (also known as pravastatin, 20 mg) is about $90, working out to roughly $3/day.

Thus, if you are on a standard dose of Crestor (i.e., 10 mg/day), then brand-name Pravachol is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you.

For the generic versions of Crestor (rosuvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin):

  • Rosuvastatin (10 mg tablets) is available in packs of 30 tablets and above, with approximate costs of $0.30 to $1.00 per day for dosages of 10 mg/day, or between $0.60 and $2.00 per day if you are taking more typical dosages of 20 to 40 mg/day.
  • Pravastatin is available in packs of 30 up to 90 tablets (20 mg), with the cost to you starting from as low as $0.10/day (if you buy the largest pack upfront), and not exceeding about $0.40/day.

Popularity of Crestor and Pravastatin

Rosuvastatin, also known by its brand name Crestor, was prescribed to around 21 million people in the USA in 2020. This accounted for approximately 22% of all statin prescriptions (medications used to lower cholesterol levels). Rosuvastatin has been increasing in prevalence since it entered the market due to its potency and effectiveness at reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides levels while raising HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Pravastatin, on the other hand, was prescribed to about 8.5 million people in the US during that same year. In terms of overall statin prescriptions, pravastatin accounts for roughly 9%. The use of pravastatin has remained fairly stable over the last decade. Its benefits include a good safety profile and less potential for drug interactions compared with some other statins; however, it is considered less potent than rosuvastatin.


Both Crestor (rosuvastatin) and Pravastatin have established roles in the management of high cholesterol levels, supported by numerous clinical trials demonstrating their efficacy over placebo treatments. These drugs are both statins that work by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver called HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a key role in the synthesis of cholesterol.

Crestor is often perceived as more potent than Pravastatin due to its ability to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol at lower doses. However, for certain patients with specific health considerations or who are on particular medications, Pravastatin may be favored because it tends to interact less with other drugs.

Both Crestor and Pravastatin are available as generic prescriptions making them more affordable especially for patients paying out-of-pocket. Both may require some time before improvements in lipid profiles become noticeable.

The side effect profile between these two medications is generally similar; they're mostly well-tolerated but can occasionally cause muscle pain or weakness. Patients must regularly monitor their liver function while on treatment and should seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms such as unusual fatigue or yellowing of eyes/skin.