[to top of second column]
Remarkably, every single subgroup benefited from the drug.
"If you're skinny it worked, if you're heavy it worked. If you lived here or there, if you smoked, it worked," Ridker said.
AstraZeneca paid for the study, and Ridker and other authors have consulted for the company and other statin makers.
One concern: More people in the Crestor group saw blood-sugar levels rise or were newly diagnosed with diabetes.
Crestor also has the highest rate among statins of a rare but serious muscle problem, so there are probably safer and cheaper ways to get the same benefits, said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the consumer group Public Citizen.
"It is highly unlikely that (the benefits are) specific to Crestor," said Wolfe, who has campaigned against the drug in the past.
Crestor costs $3.45 a day versus less than a dollar for generic drugs.
Drs. James Stein and Jon Keevil of the University of Wisconsin-Madison used federal health statistics to project that 7.4 million Americans, or more than 4 percent of the adult population, are like the people in this study.
Treating them all with Crestor would cost $9 billion a year and prevent about 30,000 heart attacks, strokes or deaths, they calculate.
"That's pretty costly. This would be a very difficult sell" unless a person also had family history or other heart disease risk factors, said Dr. Thomas Pearson of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Pearson was co-chairman of a joint government-heart association panel that wrote current guidelines for using CRP tests to guide treatment.
Researchers do not know whether the benefits seen in the study were due to reducing CRP or cholesterol, since Crestor did both.
This study and two other government-sponsored ones reported on Sunday "provide the strongest evidence to date" for testing C-reactive protein, and adding it to traditional risk measures could identify millions more people who would benefit from treatment, Nabel's statement says.
U.S. Crestor prescriptions totaled $420 million in the third quarter of this year, up 23 percent from a year earlier. In the rest of the world, third quarter sales were $520 million, up 33 percent.
Sales have been rising even though two statins -- Zocor and Pravachol -- are now available in generic form.
On the Net:
New England Journal: http://www.nejm.org/
Heart conference: http://www.americanheart.org/
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Recent articles
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor