Pitavastatin | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

pitavastatin, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Livalo
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Highlights for pitavastatin

Oral tablet
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Pitavastatin is a drug called a statin. It’s used to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood. This drug is used along with a healthy diet and other lifestyle changes to help decrease risk of a heart attack or stroke.

2

Pitavastatin is available as a brand-name drug called Livalo. It’s not available as a generic drug.

3

Pitavastatin comes in the form of tablet you take by mouth.

4

The more common side effects include back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle aches, or pain in your arms or legs.

5

In some cases, pitavastatin can cause serious muscle pain and breakdown. Let your doctor know right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Muscle pain

Pitavastatin and other statin drugs can sometimes cause myopathy, which is muscle pain and weakness. They can even cause rhabdomyolysis. This is severe muscle breakdown, which can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.

Liver problems

Pitavastatin can cause liver problems, which can lead to liver failure. It shouldn’t be used if you have active liver problems or drink a lot of alcohol. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • extreme tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in the upper right side of the abdomen (stomach area)
  • dark-colored urine
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

What is pitavastatin?

Pitavastatin is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a tablet you take by mouth.

Pitavastatin is available as a brand-name drug called Livalo. It’s not available as a generic drug.

Pitavastatin may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Pitavastatin is used to:

  • lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels

By improving cholesterol levels, this drug can help slow the development of heart disease. It can also reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

How it works

Pitavastatin belongs to a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. These are also called statins. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Statins block an enzyme known as HMG-CoA reductase. This helps bring the cholesterol in your blood to a healthier level. 

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pitavastatin Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of pitavastatin include:

  • back pain

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • muscle aches

  • pain in your arms or legs

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following: 

  • Muscle problems. Symptoms can include:

    • severe muscle pain
    • muscle tenderness
    • muscle weakness 
  • Kidney problems. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness
    • confusion
    • nausea
    • shortness of breath
    • swelling of your legs, ankles, or feet
    • decreased urination
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:

    • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
    • itching
    • pain in the upper/right side of the stomach area
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • loss of appetite
    • dark-colored urine
    • pale-colored or dark, tarry stools
    • tiredness
    • bruising easily
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Pitavastatin doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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pitavastatin May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Pitavastatin can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

If you drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day, pitavastatin can increase the risk of serious liver damage. Talk to your doctor about whether you can drink alcohol while taking pitavastatin.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Antibiotics

When taken with pitavastatin, certain antibiotics can increase the amount of pitavastatin in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from pitavastatin. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin
  • telithromycin

Blood-thinning drugs

Warfarin is used to thin the blood. Using this drug with pitavastatin may increase the effects of warfarin. This raises your risk of bleeding. Your doctor may closely monitor your levels of warfarin if you take it with pitavastatin.

Cholesterol drugs

When taken with pitavastatin, certain cholesterol drugs can increase the risk of myopathy (muscle pain) or rhabdomyolysis (serious muscle breakdown). Examples of these drugs include:

  • gemfibrozil
  • fenofibrate
  • niacin

Immunosuppressant drugs

Cyclosporine, a drug that suppresses the immune system, can increase the amount of pitavastatin in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from pitavastatin. Do not take these drugs together.

Tuberculosis drugs

Rifampin is used to treat tuberculosis. Using this drug with pitavastatin can increase the amount of pitavastatin in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from pitavastatin.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Pitavastatin warnings
kidney problems
People with kidney problems

You may not be able to clear this drug from your body as well. This may increase the levels of pitavastatin in your body and cause more side effects (such as muscle problems). Let your doctor know if you have active kidney problems or a history of kidney disease. Your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage of this drug for you.

liver problems
People with liver problems

Pitavastatin can cause liver problems, which could lead to liver failure. Let your doctor know if you have a history of liver disease. Your doctor can let you know if pitavastatin is safe for you. If you have active liver disease, you should not take pitavastatin.

underactive thyroid
People with underactive thyroid

If you have hypothyroidism that isn’t well controlled, you may be at increased risk for muscle problems when taking pitavastatin.

diabetes
People with diabetes

Pitavastatin can increase your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will monitor these levels closely.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Pitavastatin is a category X pregnancy drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Pitavastatin may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

You should not breast-feed while taking pitavastatin. Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication. 

seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

children
For children

This medication hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Pitavastatin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • hives 

If you have a reaction, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take pitavastatin (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)

Brand: Livalo

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 4 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Typical dosage: 1–4 mg once per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special considerations

Kidney disease: Your pitavastatin dosage shouldn’t be more than 2 mg once per day.

Warnings

Never take more than 4 mg of pitavastatin per day. Higher doses put you at greater risk of severe muscle problems.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Pitavastatin comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

You will continue to have high cholesterol levels. This puts you at risk of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. 

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • severe pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • muscle pain and weakness

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.   

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may not be able to tell this drug is working for you. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to check your cholesterol levels.

Pitavastatin is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking pitavastatin
take with or without food
You can take pitavastatin with or without food
timing
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
can cut or crush
You can cut or crush the tablet
storage
Store this drug carefully
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medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
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Travel
Travel
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Clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
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diet
Your diet
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not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
Hidden costs
Hidden costs
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prior authorization required
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store pitavastatin at room temperature. The suggested temperature range is between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Protect this drug from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your health during treatment. They will likely do blood tests. These tests can help make sure your cholesterol levels are within the range your doctor feels is best for you. This will show if your medication is working.

Also, you and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Kidney function. Blood tests can check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dosage of this drug.
  • Liver function. Blood tests can check how well your liver is working. If your tests are abnormal, it may mean that pitavastatin is causing damage to your liver. Your doctor may switch you to a different medication.

Your diet

Talk to your doctor about what foods you should eat. Following a heart-healthy diet can help lower your cholesterol.

Hidden costs

You may need to have blood tests while you take this drug. The cost of these tests depends on your insurance coverage.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does pitavastatin Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for pitavastatin

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Kroger Pharmacy $217.96
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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for pitavastatin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for pitavastatin on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 23, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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