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Crestor costs $3.45 a day versus less than a dollar for generic drugs. Its sales have been rising even though two statins -- Zocor and Pravachol -- are now available in generic form.
Researchers do not know whether the benefits seen in the study were due to reducing CRP or cholesterol, since Crestor did both. Another new analysis reported Sunday and published in the British journal the Lancet found that the patients who did the best in the study were those who saw both numbers drop.
Many doctors remain reluctant to expand CRP testing or use of statins. A survey by the New England journal found them evenly divided on the questions. Others questioned why so few people in the study were getting other treatments to prevent heart problems.
"If more of them were on aspirin, you would have less benefit from the statin," said Dr. Thomas Pearson of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Dr. James Stein of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said that doctors examining treatment guidelines should pay close attention to the new results.
He said the CRP test had helped him convince patients that they need to be on a statin drug.
"There are very few times you can say to a patient, 'this medicine is going to keep you alive.' We should try not to pick apart studies that save lives," Stein said.
On the Net:
Heart meeting: http://www.acc.org/
Medical journal: http://www.nejm.org/
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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