Rosuvastatin is a competitive inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase. HMG-CoA reductase catalyzes the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate, an early rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis. Rosuvastatin acts primarily in the liver. Decreased hepatic cholesterol concentrations stimulate the upregulation of hepatic low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors which increases hepatic uptake of LDL. Rosuvastatin also inhibits hepatic synthesis of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). The overall effect is a decrease in plasma LDL and VLDL. In vitro and in vivo animal studies also demonstrate that rosuvastatin exerts vasculoprotective effects independent of its lipid-lowering properties. Rosuvastatin exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on rat mesenteric microvascular endothelium by attenuating leukocyte rolling, adherence and transmigration (PMID: 11375257). The drug also modulates nitric oxide synthase (NOS) expression and reduces ischemic-reperfusion injuries in rat hearts (PMID: 15914111). Rosuvastatin increases the bioavailability of nitric oxide (PMID: 11375257, 12031849, 15914111) by upregulating NOS (PMID: 12354446) and by increasing the stability of NOS through post-transcriptional polyadenylation (PMID: 17916773). It is unclear as to how rosuvastatin brings about these effects though they may be due to decreased concentrations of mevalonic acid.
Rosuvastatin is a synthetic, enantiomerically pure antilipemic agent. It is used to lower total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (apoB), non-high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (non-HDL-C), and trigleride (TG) plasma concentrations while increasing HDL-C concentrations. High LDL-C, low HDL-C and high TG concentrations in the plasma are associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. The total cholesterol to HDL-C ratio is a strong predictor of coronary artery disease and high ratios are associated with higher risk of disease. Increased levels of HDL-C are associated with lower cardiovascular risk. By decreasing LDL-C and TG and increasing HDL-C, rosuvastatin reduces the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Not extensively metabolized. Only ~10% is excreted as metabolite. Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C9 is primarily responsible for the formation of rosuvastatin's major metabolite, N-desmethylrosuvastatin. N-desmethylrosuvastatin has approximately 50% of the pharmacological activity of its parent compound in vitro. Rosuvastatin accounts for greater than 87% of the pharmacologic action. Inhibitors of CYP2C9 increase the AUC by less than 2-fold. This interaction does not appear to be clinically significant.
Generally well-tolerated. Side effects may include myalgia, constipation, asthenia, abdominal pain, and nausea. Other possible side effects include myotoxicity (myopathy, myositis, rhabdomyolysis) and hepatotoxicity. To avoid toxicity in Asian patients, lower doses should be considered. Pharmacokinetic studies show an approximately two-fold increase in peak plasma concentration and AUC in Asian patients (Philippino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Asian-Indian descent) compared to Caucasians patients.