Highlights for pitavastatin
- Pitavastatin oral tablet is available as brand-name drugs. It’s not available as a generic drug. Brand names: Livalo, Nikita.
- Pitavastatin comes only as a tablet you take by mouth.
- 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.
- Muscle pain warning: Pitavastatin can sometimes cause myopathy, which is muscle pain and weakness. It 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 warning: Pitavastatin can cause liver problems, which can lead to liver failure. You shouldn’t use this drug 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 oral tablet is available as the brand-name drugs Livalo and Nikita. 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 oral tablet 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. This drug is used along with a healthy diet and other lifestyle changes to improve cholesterol levels and heart health.
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.
Pitavastatin side effects
Pitavastatin oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.
More common side effects
The more common side effects that can occur with use of pitavastatin include:
- back pain
- 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 911 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:
- 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)
- pain in the upper right side of the stomach area
- loss of appetite
- dark-colored urine
- pale-colored or dark, tarry stools
- bruising easily
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not 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.
Pitavastatin may interact with other medications
Pitavastatin oral tablet 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.
Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with pitavastatin are listed below.
Taking certain antibiotics with pitavastatin can increase the amount of pitavastatin in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from pitavastatin. Examples of these drugs include:
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.
Taking certain cholesterol drugs with pitavastatin can increase the risk of myopathy (muscle pain) or rhabdomyolysis (serious muscle breakdown). Examples of these drugs include:
Taking cyclosporine, a drug that suppresses the immune system, with pitavastatin can increase the amount of pitavastatin in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from pitavastatin. Do not take these drugs together.
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.
Colchicine is used to treat gout flares. Using this drug with pitavastatin can increase your risk of side effects such as myopathy (muscle pain) or rhabdomyolysis (serious muscle breakdown).
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not 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.
This drug comes with several warnings.
Pitavastatin can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
If you develop these symptoms, call 911 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).
Alcohol interaction warning
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.
Warnings for people with certain health conditions
For people with kidney problems: You may not be able to clear this drug from your body 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.
For 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.
For 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.
For people with diabetes: Pitavastatin can increase your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will monitor these levels closely.Warnings for other groups
For pregnant women: Pitavastatin is a category X pregnancy drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy. Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.
For women who are breastfeeding: Pitavastatin may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. You should not breastfeed while taking pitavastatin. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.
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, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.
For children: This medication hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.
How to take pitavastatin
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
Dosage for hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
- Form: oral tablet
- Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 4 mg
- 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 children 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, a higher amount 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 dosage or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.
Special dosage considerations
For people with kidney disease: Your pitavastatin dosage shouldn’t be more than 2 mg once per day.
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 can not guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Take as directed
Pitavastatin oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. It 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)
- 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 911 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. Those tests will show if the drug is working.
Important considerations for taking pitavastatin
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes pitavastatin for you.
- You can take pitavastatin with or without food.
- Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
- You can cut or crush the tablet.
- 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.
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 harm your medication.
- You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container 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.
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, 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.
Talk to your doctor about what foods you should eat. Following a heart-healthy diet can help lower your cholesterol.
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure they carry it.
You may need to have blood tests while you take this drug. The cost of these tests depends on your insurance coverage.
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.
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 here in 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.