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Jan 27, 2023


Heart Health


Atorvastatin vs Rosuvastatin

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) and Rosuvastatin (Crestor) are both high-intensity statins.

Statins reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). Overall statins help lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

How statins work

Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. A natural chemical called mevalonate is synthesized by the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase), then used to create sterols (lipids), including cholesterol. Statins block this enzyme to reduce total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol synthesis in your liver.

Additionally, statins increase liver's ability to take in and break down cholesterol from your blood.

Learn more about different statins in the blog Compare Statins


Both Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin are used to treat:

  • High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
  • Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HeFH)—a condition that causes high levels of LDL
  • Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)—a condition that develops when your body has trouble eliminating LDL from your blood, resulting in an increased risk of developing a heart attack at a young age.
  • Primary and secondary prevention Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD)—ASCVD is caused by the development of cholesterol plaque in your arteries. It's considered a significant source of morbidity and mortality.

Atorvastatin vs Rosuvastatin: Side effects

Because atorvastatin and rosuvastatin are in the same drug class, they share similar adverse effects. And although statins are considered safe and effective for many individuals, they do cause a number of negative side effects:

  • Muscle weakness (myopathy)
  • Muscle pain and/or soreness (myalgias)
  • Joint pain (arthralgia)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Headache
  • Cold-like symptoms, including sore throat, stuffy nose, and/or sneezing
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Weakness

Do not abruptly discontinue taking this medication even if you believe you are encountering any negative side effects. Consult your doctor to determine whether a dose adjustment or switching to a different drug could be beneficial in your case.

Serious side effects of statins :
  • Difficulty raising your arms and/or difficulty rising or standing
  • Muscle aches in your hips, shoulders, neck, and back
  • Hepatic (liver) issues, such as upper abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, decreased appetite, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Kidney issues, such as little to no urination, ankle or foot swelling, fatigue, or shortness of breath.
  • Confusion and/or memory problems

If you’re experiencing any of the serious side effects listed above, immediately call your doctor and stop taking this medication.


You may see blood in their urine (hematuria) or protein in their urine (proteinuria) while taking statins.

Learn more about statin side effects.

Missed dose

Although both medications can be taken at any time of the day, they should be taken at roughly the same time every day so you don’t forget to take them.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it's almost time for your next dose. In this case, skip the forgotten dose and take the next one at the usual time. Do not take 2 doses together to make up for a missed dose.

Atorvastatin vs Rosuvastatin: The Differences

Rosuvastatin (Crestor) Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Strongest and most effective statin
    Compared to other medications in its class, it results in noticeably greater reductions in total cholesterol at lower dosages.
  • Dose
    Moderate intensity: 5 mg–10 mg
    High intensity: 20 mg–40 mg
  • Distinct side effects: depression, joint discomfort, insomnia, nightmares, stomach pain
  • Most frequently prescribed statin
  • Raises HDL levels while lowering LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol
  • Dose
    Moderate intensity: 10 mg–20 mg
    High intensity: 40 mg–80 mg
  • Distinct side effects: depression, joint discomfort, sleep related issues (insomnia, nightmares, stomach pain)
Metabolic pathway (the breakdown of a drug so it can properly get eliminated)
  • Processed by the 2C9 enzyme in the liver:
    Since it's not commonly used by other drugs it's associated with fewer drug and food interactions than atorvastatin.
  • Processed by the CYP3A4 enzyme in the liver:
    Because numerous drugs are metabolized by the same enzyme, it may cause more interactions with other drugs and food.
When taking atorvastatin or rosuvastatin, it’s very important to let your healthcare professionals know about any new prescriptions, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, or herbal supplements you may be taken or recently stopped taking.

Atorvastatin vs Rosuvastatin: Which medication should I take?

Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin are both highly effective drugs for treating high cholesterol and lowering your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Rosuvastatin, however, was more successful in studies of reducing your total cholesterol and increasing HDL levels.

To choose which is best for you, you should ultimately speak with your doctor. Cost, side effects, any medications you are taking, and any existing conditions should all be considered.

Speak With Your Doctor

Both medications are considered safe and effective medications when taken appropriately (as prescribed by your doctor). Talk to your doctor today about using Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin and send your prescription to Marley Drug. Save up to 95% compared to your local pharmacy by using Marley Drug.

Marley Drug provides free nationwide shipping, allowing you to receive your medication at no additional cost straight to your door.

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