What is Livalo?
Livalo is the brand name for the drug pitavastain, a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, or statin. It reduces “bad” cholesterol, such as low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides, while raising “good” cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein. Livalo works by blocking an enzyme that the liver needs for the production of cholesterol. Because the drug affects the liver, it is important to discuss any history of liver, thyroid or kidney conditions. Livalo (pitatvastatin) is not recommended for patients with liver disease.
While Livalo has been used in Japan since 2003 and in Europe since 2008, it was only on August of 2009 when the U.S. FDA approved the use of this drug. Livalo is also widely used in other countries including South Korea, China and Thailand. The U.S. FDA approval was based on five clinical trials that showed Livalo as equally safe and effective as other statins currently sold in the US. Livalo is manufactured by Kowa Company Ltd., a multinational Japanese company which also has a base in the U.S. Currently, a generic form of Livalo is not yet available in the U.S.
Doctors often prescribe Livalo as part of a comprehensive approach to lowering cholesterol that includes daily exercise and a heart-healthy, low-fat diet that is rich in nutrients, as well as soluble fiber. When used in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan, Livalo and pitavastatin may help to prevent heart disease and hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attack, stroke and other serious medical conditions.
Livalo is available in 1-mg, 2-mg or 4-mg tablets that may be taken with or without food. Your doctor may start you on a low dose and increase the dosage as your body adjusts to the medication to minimize side effects. Always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking prescription medications such as Livalo and pitavastatin.
Like other statins, Livalo is indicated for patients with hypercholesterolemia or abnormally high cholesterol levels. This medication is intended to be used along with proper diet and regular exercise.
While Livalo works just like other statins, its chemical structure is actually unique. Among others, pitavastatin has a different base structure which is thought to make it more effective in inhibiting cholesterol production. It also allows pitavastatin to reduce more low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and plasma cholesterol.
A study conducted by Danish researchers revealed that a 4 milligram dose of Livalo is more effective than a 40 mg dose of Pravachol (Pravastatin). Furthermore, the manufacturers say that 2 mg of Livalo is equally as efficient as 10 mg Lipitor or, to some extent, 20 mg Zocor.
What things to remember when taking Livalo?
- Inform your physician if you have any known allergy to this drug or its ingredients.
- Tell your doctor of all and any drugs and health products you are currently taking.
- Regular visit to your healthcare provider is necessary to monitor the progress of the treatment as well as to detect potential adverse effects.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter medications and natural supplements without approval of your healthcare provider.
- Take this medication exactly as directed by your healthcare provider. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
- Read the prescription label carefully before taking this drug.
- Discuss with your physician other underlying medical conditions for necessary dosage adjustments.
- Discuss with your physician any plans of getting pregnant. If you become pregnant while on Livalo treatment, contact your physician right away. This drug is classified as Pregnancy Class X which means that it could harm the unborn fetus hence should not be used during pregnancy.
- If you develop muscle problems while on this medication, contact your physician right away.