Lipitor Met Its Match? Not So Fast, But AstraZeneca Gains Knowledge
Possibly the largest impact stemming from these findings is that doctors prescribing Crestor now, may make the prescription switch to Lipitor when a generic version of the best selling drug in the world becomes available.
Pfizer, which sells the cholesterol drug, has been battling generics manufacturer Ranbaxy to protect the Lipitor cash cow for a few more years. Ranbaxy had been pushing to sell the drug in 2010, when the basic patent expires; Pfizer had argued that various other patents should keep the drug locked up until 2016.
Now the companies have settled their legal fight and Ranbaxy is in the clear to start selling generic atorvastatin in November 2011. Pfizer's Ian Read, president of worldwide of pharmaceutical operations, called the deal "a win-win-win because it is pro-patient, pro-competition and pro-intellectual property."
The Crestor study was a 104-week, randomized, double-blind, parallel group, multi-center clinical trial of 1,300 patients comparing the 40 milligram top dose of Crestor to the 80 mg top dose of Lipitor. An ultrasound device on a catheter inserted into a heart artery and used to take pictures of plaque thickness.
Buildup of cholesterol and other fats along the walls of the blood vessels (a process known as atherosclerosis) decreases blood flow and, therefore, the oxygen supply to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body. Lowering blood levels of cholesterol and fats may help to decrease your chances of getting heart disease, angina (chest pain), strokes, and heart attacks. In addition to taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, making certain changes in your daily habits can also lower your cholesterol blood levels.
These results come of a bit of a surprise to Astra because a study earlier showed Crestor in fact could reverse the buildup of artery plaque. However, the head-to-head comparison apparently shows it's not.
Crestor, or rosuvastatin, is used together with lifestyle changes (diet, weight-loss, exercise) to reduce the amount of cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood. Rosuvastatin is in a class of medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). It works by slowing the production of cholesterol in the body.
Along with medications, is important to eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet, which includes cottage cheese, fat-free milk, fish, vegetables, poultry, and egg whites. Use monounsaturated oils such as olive, peanut, and canola oils or polyunsaturated oils such as corn, safflower, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and soybean oils. Avoid foods with excess fat in them such as meat (especially liver and fatty meat), egg yolks, whole milk, cream, butter, shortening, pastries, cakes, cookies, gravy, peanut butter, chocolate, olives, potato chips, coconut, cheese (other than cottage cheese), coconut oil, palm oil, and fried foods.
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