High Cholesterol? Learn about treatments

pitavastatin (Oral route)

pi-tav-a-STAT-in

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Livalo

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Tablet

Therapeutic Class: Antihyperlipidemic

Pharmacologic Class: HMG-COA Reductase Inhibitor

Uses For pitavastatin

Pitavastatin is used together with a proper diet to treat high cholesterol levels and triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood. pitavastatin may help prevent medical problems (e.g., heart attacks, strokes) that are caused by fat clogging the blood vessels.

Slideshow: HealthQuiz - Basics About Stroke Signs and Symptoms

Pitavastatin belongs to the group of medicines called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or statins. It works to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood by blocking an enzyme that is needed to make cholesterol.

pitavastatin is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using pitavastatin

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For pitavastatin, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pitavastatin or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of pitavastatin in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of pitavastatin in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney and muscle problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving pitavastatin.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters X Studies in animals or pregnant women have demonstrated positive evidence of fetal abnormalities. This drug should not be used in women who are or may become pregnant because the risk clearly outweighs any possible benefit.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking pitavastatin, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using pitavastatin with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Cyclosporine

Using pitavastatin with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Colchicine
  • Erlotinib
  • Erythromycin
  • Fenofibrate
  • Fenofibric Acid
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Niacin
  • Rifampin
  • Ritonavir

Using pitavastatin with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Atazanavir

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of pitavastatin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Alcohol abuse, or history of or
  • Diabetes or
  • Liver disease, history of—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
  • Convulsions (seizures), not well-controlled or
  • Dehydration or
  • Electrolyte disorders, severe or
  • Endocrine disorders, severe or
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure) or
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), not adequately treated or
  • Kidney disease, severe or
  • Major surgery, recent or
  • Major trauma (injury), recent or
  • Metabolic disorders, severe or
  • Sepsis (severe infection in the blood)—Patients with these conditions may be at risk of developing muscle and kidney problems.
  • Liver disease, active or
  • Liver enzymes, persistently high levels—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.

Proper Use of pitavastatin

Take pitavastatin only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.

In addition to pitavastatin, your doctor may change your diet to one that is low in fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Carefully follow your doctor's orders about any special diet.

You may take pitavastatin with or without food.

Do not drink large amounts of alcohol while taking pitavastatin. This could cause unwanted side effects on the liver.

Dosing

The dose of pitavastatin will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of pitavastatin. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For high cholesterol:
      • Adults—At first, 2 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 4 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of pitavastatin, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using pitavastatin

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using pitavastatin while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Do not use cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®) while you are taking pitavastatin. Using these medicines together may cause serious side effects.

Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness. These could be symptoms of serious muscle problems, such as myopathy or immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM).

Call your doctor right away if you have dark-colored urine, diarrhea, a fever, muscle cramps or spasms, muscle pain or stiffness, or feel very tired or weak. These could be symptoms of a serious muscle problem called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney problems.

Call your doctor right away if you get a headache, stomach pain, vomiting, dark-colored urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, general feeling of tiredness or weakness, light-colored stools, upper right stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of liver damage.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you use pitavastatin. You may need to stop using pitavastatin if you have major surgery, a major injury, or you develop other serious health problems.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

pitavastatin Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
  • Difficulty with moving
  • joint pain
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • pain in the arms and legs
  • swollen joints
Incidence not known
  • Chills
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • runny nose
  • shivering
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • trouble with sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Back pain
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
Incidence not known
  • Hives or welts
  • itching skin
  • rash
  • redness of the skin

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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