Will clotting data broaden Crestor use?

AstraZeneca's Crestor is shaping up just as the company hoped it might: A cholesterol drug with proven clinical outcomes. Which, incidentally, could grab a greater share of the statin market just as the blockbuster Plavix nears the end of its on-patent life.

Here's the latest. A study of data from the Jupiter trial, focusing on the secondary goal of blood-clot prevention. The lead researcher said that Crestor not only showed almost half the number of clots in "relatively healthy" patients compared with placebo, but achieved that without increasing hemorrhage risk. Anticoagulants such as heparin and warfarin carry a bleeding risk, he said. (Others pointed out that Crestor may not carry a bleeding risk, but it does raise the risk of side effects like muscle and kidney problems.)

Jupiter is the first clinical trial to look at statins' effects on blot clotting in a random selection of people, the New York Times notes, though smaller studies have had similar results.

Another analysis of the data appears to show that the patients who had the best outcomes in the Jupiter study were those whose cholesterol numbers dropped--and whose C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation, dropped too. Some have suggested that at-risk patients be tested for CRP, which isn't part of routine blood work. Those whose CRP is high should consider statin therapy, those advocates say. But other experts are reluctant to advise routine statin use.

- read the New York Times story
- get more from the Associated Press