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Livalo (Pitavastatin)

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Updated September 15, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

General Information About Livalo:

Pitavastatin (brand name: Livalo) is a cholesterol-lowering medication that belongs to the statin class of drugs. It is one of the more potent statins on the market. According to studies conducted by Kowa Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Livalo, 2 mg of Livalo is as efficient at lowering lipids as 10 mg of Lipitor (atorvastatin). Additionally, 2 mg of Livalo lowers cholesterol to an extent similar to 20 mg of Zocor (simvastatin).

Like other statins, Livalo affects all aspects of your cholesterol profile: It lowers LDL and triglycerides, and raises HDL.

Livalo is not currently available in generic form.

How Livalo Works:

Livalo blocks an enzyme called 3-hydroxy-3methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase, which is an important protein needed in the production of cholesterol.

How to Take Livalo:

This medication may be taken with or without food, as directed by your healthcare provider. While taking Livalo, you should consult with a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking other medications (including over-the-counter products and herbal supplements) since some of these medications may interact with Livalo.

Who Should Not Take Livalo:

  • Individuals who have had an allergic reaction to Livalo or any of its components.
  • Women who are pregnant.
  • Women who are breastfeeding.
  • Individuals who are taking cyclosporine.
  • Individuals who have active liver disease or have abnormal liver enzyme levels.
  • Individuals who have a history of alcohol abuse.

Side Effects of Livalo:

The most common side effects include back pain, pain in extremities, myalgia, liver enzyme abnormalities, headache, and gastrointestinal problems (such as constipation or diarrhea).

Serious Side Effects of Livalo:

The following are serious side effects of Livalo. If you experience any of these rare side effects, contact your healthcare provider immediately:

  • Myopathy - such as progressive muscle soreness or weakness
  • Red or brown urine

Drugs That Could Interact With Livalo:

The following drugs may interact with Livalo, increasing the likelihood of experiencing side effects (especially myopathy). With the exception of cholesterol-lowering drugs listed below, these drugs can increase levels of Livalo in your body.

  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs (nicotinic acid, fibrates)
  • Rifampin
  • Erythromycin
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors, particularly Kaletra (ritonavir and lopinavir)

If you are required to take one of the drugs listed above, your healthcare provider may need to adjust your dose, monitor you more closely for side effects, or discontinue one of the drugs.

Disclaimer:

This information is just a brief listing and is not inclusive. It should not replace the information provided by your healthcare provider or the manufacturer of this drug.

Sources:

DRUGDEX® System [Internet database]. Greenwood Village, Colo: Thomson Healthcare. Updated periodically. Last accessed: 27 December 2009

LIVALO [package insert]. Cincinnati, OH: Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc; 2009.

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