AIM: This study was undertaken to increase understanding of the utilization of a newly introduced statin through evaluation of characteristics of ‘real-life’ patients in a pharmacoepidemiology program in the USA, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada.METHODS: This was an observational analysis of prospectively collected data from primary care patients classified as new users of rosuvastatin or any other statin. New users (naive or switched initiators) of rosuvastatin were compared with initiators ofother statins, as identified from automated healthcare databases in the first 1 to 2 years of rosuvastatin availability. Demographics, statin doses, previous statin use and other lipid-lowering therapies, and relevant comorbidities were recorded. The main outcome measure was proportion of naive and non-naive statin users in patients prescribed rosuvastatin or ‘other statins’. RESULTS: Among 346.547 new statin users identified in the cohorts, 46.838 (13.5%) were new users of rosuvastatin and most (84.1%)were statin-naive. Patients receiving rosuvastatin were more likely to have been previously treated with another statin or non-statin lipid-lowering therapy and tended to be younger, compared with first users of other statins. CONCLUSION: These findingssuggest that rosuvastatin is preferentially prescribed to patients who have not responded satisfactorily to established treatment.