Dec 17, 2009 12:16 PM by Associated Press
Federal health advisers say expanded use of AstraZeneca's cholesterol pill Crestor can benefit patients with healthy cholesterol levels by preventing heart attack, stroke and death.
A Food and Drug Administration panel voted 12-4 this week that Crestor's benefits outweigh its risks in patients with normal cholesterol and no history of heart disease, setting the stage for a dramatic expansion of a drug that is already a blockbuster seller.
The FDA is not required to follow the group's advice, though it usually does.
A positive FDA ruling would give Crestor the broadest indication of any cholesterol drug in the U.S.
FDA's panelist's said the drug's lifesaving potential outweighed side effects, including diabetes risk.