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Consumer Group Urges Ban of Cholesterol Drug

May 19, 2004 | AP

A consumer advocate is urging the government to ban the new anti-cholesterol drug Crestor, citing new cases of a life-threatening muscle side effect among patients taking a low dose thought to minimize the risk.

Public Citizen's renewed call comes days after Crestor's maker, AstraZeneca, wrote doctors in Britain urging them to start patients on a mere 10-milligram dose because of concern about that muscle-destroying condition, rhabdomyolysis.

Food and Drug Administration records show 11 cases of the muscle condition in Crestor patients reported to the agency since late February, on top of 14 previously known with the drug - and seven of those newest patients were taking the 10-mg dose, said Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen.

Nine of the new cases required hospitalization; at least five were under age 50, he said.

Crestor "is a doomed drug," Wolfe wrote the FDA.

FDA spokesman Brad Stone said the agency is closely monitoring Crestor.

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