Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin) are brand-name prescription medications. They’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain types of high cholesterol and reduce specific heart risks in some people.

This article explains the main similarities and differences between Lipitor and Crestor. If you’re considering taking either drug, talk with your doctor. Doing so can help you decide if Lipitor or Crestor may be right for you.

Note: For more comprehensive information about these two drugs, see our Lipitor and Crestor articles.

Key differences between Lipitor and Crestor

These are a few of the main differences between Lipitor and Crestor:

  • Side effects: Lipitor and Crestor may both cause muscle pain and certain digestive problems. However, the drugs may cause different side effects as well. (See “Side effects of Lipitor vs. Crestor” below.)
  • Conditions treated: Lipitor and Crestor are both used to treat high cholesterol and reduce certain heart risks. However, Crestor is also used to slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries. (See “Uses of Lipitor vs. Crestor” below.)

Below are answers to some common questions about Lipitor and Crestor.

Is Lipitor or Crestor better for me?

It depends. Clinical trials have found both Lipitor and Crestor to be effective when taken for certain types of high cholesterol or heart risks.

Whether Lipitor or Crestor is a better treatment option for you will depend on certain factors. Examples of these factors include:

  • the reason you’re taking the drug
  • your cholesterol levels or risk of heart problems when you start taking the drug
  • how well the drug works to lower your cholesterol levels or risk of heart problems
  • side effects you may have from either drug

To learn more about Lipitor and Crestor, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether one medication is a better choice for you than the other.

How can I figure out the dosage conversion between Lipitor and Crestor?

Your doctor can tell you whether there’s a dosage conversion between Lipitor and Crestor.

Lipitor and Crestor are both used to treat certain types of high cholesterol and reduce certain heart risks. If you’re interested in switching from Lipitor to Crestor, or vice versa, talk with your doctor. If they approve a change from one drug to the other, they’ll tell you how to adjust your dosage.

Is hair loss a side effect of Lipitor or Crestor?

Possibly, but it isn’t known for certain.

Hair loss wasn’t reported as a side effect in clinical trials of Lipitor or Crestor. And there have been no official studies that have reported hair loss with Lipitor or Crestor since they became available.

If you’re concerned about hair loss, talk with your doctor.

Does Lipitor or Crestor cause depression?

It’s possible that Lipitor and Crestor could cause depression.

This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials of Lipitor or Crestor. However, depression has been reported with both drugs since they became available for use.

Depression may cause a range of symptoms. Examples include a loss of interest in activities, changes in body weight or appetite, and fatigue.

If you have any depression symptoms while taking Lipitor or Crestor, talk with your doctor. They can help determine if you’re experiencing depression and whether Lipitor or Crestor may be the cause.

Both Lipitor and Crestor contain a type of statin drug. These drugs can cause some of the same side effects, as well as some different ones. Some of the side effects reported in clinical trials of these medications are mentioned below. For more information about side effects of the two drugs, see the prescribing information for Lipitor and Crestor.

Mild side effects

The following table lists some of the more commonly reported mild side effects of Lipitor and Crestor. The table may also include mild side effects that are less common but that you might have concerns about in some cases.

Mild side effectsLipitorCrestor
digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea*xx
cold symptoms, such as runny nose, cough, or sneezingx
mild joint pain or muscle painxx
urinary tract infectionx
throat pain, arm pain, or leg painx
insomniax
headachex
weaknessx
dizzinessx
mild allergic reactionx†x

* Not all of these digestive problems were reported in both drugs’ clinical trials.
† An allergic reaction is possible after using Lipitor, but this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials.

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

The following table lists the reported serious side effects of Lipitor and Crestor.

Serious side effectsLipitorCrestor
muscle problems, including severe muscle pain and rhabdomyolysis (a type of muscle injury)xx
abnormal results of liver function tests, which could be a sign of liver problemsxx
high blood sugar, which could lead to new or worsened diabetesxx
severe allergic reactionx*x

* An allergic reaction is possible after using Lipitor, but this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials.

If you have serious side effects while using Lipitor or Crestor, call your doctor immediately. If the side effects feel life threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

Note: For more information about mild and serious side effects, see our articles about Lipitor and Crestor side effects. You can also refer to the Lipitor and Crestor prescribing information.

How much Lipitor or Crestor costs depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, your insurance plan, and your pharmacy. You can visit Optum Perks for price estimates for Lipitor and Crestor.

Both Lipitor and Crestor are brand-name drugs. The two medications also come in generic form. Brand-name medications are often more expensive than generics. To learn about the generic form of either drug, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Here are the active ingredients and other information about Lipitor and Crestor.

LipitorCrestor
Active ingredientatorvastatinrosuvastatin
Drug classstatinstatin
Generic available?yesyes

Lipitor and Crestor have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following.

  • Both Lipitor and Crestor are FDA-approved to:
    • Treat high cholesterol in certain adults caused by different factors.
    • Help reduce heart risks, such as stroke, heart attack, and the need for certain heart surgeries. For this purpose, Lipitor and Crestor are prescribed for adults.
  • Crestor is also FDA-approved to:

Lipitor or Crestor and children

Lipitor and Crestor have been approved by the FDA to treat the following conditions in children.

  • Lipitor and Crestor are FDA-approved to:
    • Lower high cholesterol levels caused by an inherited condition called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). Lipitor is used only in children of ages 10 years and older for this purpose. Crestor is used only in children ages 8 years and older for this purpose.
    • Lower high cholesterol levels caused by an inherited condition called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH). Lipitor can be used in children of any age for this purpose. Crestor is used in children ages 7 years and older for this purpose.

Note: For more information about the drugs’ uses, see our articles about Lipitor and Crestor.

Here’s a quick look at the dosage and administration of Lipitor and Crestor for the conditions both drugs are used for.

Dosage for high cholesterol

Lipitor for high cholesterolCrestor for high cholesterol
Formoral tabletoral tablet
Strengths• 10 milligrams (mg)
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
• 80 mg
• 5 mg
• 10 mg
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
Dose10 mg to 80 mg5 mg to 40 mg
Frequencyonce dailyonce daily

Dosage for reducing heart risks

Lipitor for reducing heart risksCrestor for reducing heart risks
Formoral tabletoral tablet
Strengths• 10 mg
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
• 80 mg
• 5 mg
• 10 mg
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
Dose10 mg to 80 mg5 mg to 40 mg
Frequencyonce dailyonce daily

Note: For more information about Lipitor’s dosage, see this article. To learn more about Crestor’s dosage, talk with your doctor.

Keep reading to learn about the effectiveness of Lipitor and Crestor.

Reviews of studies. Separate studies of Lipitor and Crestor were compared in larger reviews of studies. For treating high cholesterol, this review and this later review found Crestor to be more effective than Lipitor.

It’s important to note that study results may not apply to your individual health situation. Be sure to talk with your doctor to see whether Lipitor or Crestor may be right for you.

Prescribing information. For information about how effective these drugs were in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Lipitor and Crestor. Keep in mind that trial results may not apply to your individual health situation.

Treatment guidelines. Another way to see whether a drug is considered effective is to look at treatment guidelines. When an organization includes certain drugs in treatment guidelines, this means that research has shown the drug to be safe and effective.

Both Lipitor and Crestor are recommended as treatment options for people with high cholesterol in guidelines from the American Heart Association and other organizations.

Lipitor and Crestor may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The two drugs share some of the same precautions, but they also have different ones. Some of these precautions are mentioned below.

If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before taking Lipitor or Crestor.

PrecautionLipitorCrestor
if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredientsxx
if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnantxx
if you’re breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeedingxx
if you have a liver problem, such as liver failurexx
if you have a kidney problem, such as kidney failurexx
if you have diabetesxx
if you have a thyroid problem, such as an underactive thyroidxx
if you’re of Asian descentx
if you’ve had a stroke in the last 6 monthsx
if you consume more than 2 alcoholic drinks per dayxx

Note: For more comprehensive information about these two drugs, see our Lipitor and Crestor articles. You can also learn about Lipitor’s interactions here.

Switching between Lipitor and Crestor might be possible.

If you’d like to know more about switching between Lipitor and Crestor, talk with your doctor. They can give you additional details and help determine the best course of action for your personal situation. Even if two drugs treat the same condition or are in the same drug class, your body can still respond differently. It’s important that you do not stop, start, or switch any drug treatment without your doctor’s recommendation.

Some key points to remember when comparing Lipitor and Crestor include:

  • Both Lipitor and Crestor are used to treat high cholesterol and reduce certain heart risks. However, the two drugs have other uses as well. Your doctor can advise you on whether either medication is right for your condition.
  • Lipitor and Crestor can both cause muscle pain and certain digestive problems. However, the two drugs may also cause other side effects that differ. If you have bothersome side effects with one medication, your doctor may be able to switch you to the other. (To learn more, see “Switching between Lipitor and Crestor” above.)

If you’d like to learn more about Lipitor or Crestor, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about similarities and differences between the drugs. They can also help determine whether one drug or the other might work well for you.

Note: For more information about your condition, see our cholesterol hub and cardiovascular health hub.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.