Livalo During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

by on April 19, 2012


Livalo (pitavastatin) is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing. Talk to your doctor before taking Livalo if you are pregnant or planning to conceive during treatment. Although safe for adult use, Livalo will damage a developing fetus. After ending Livalo treatment, your doctor may advise you to wait for several weeks before attempting to conceive.

Livalo During Pregnancy

The FDA classifies Livalo as Pregnancy Category X medication which means it is contraindicated for pregnant women.  Category X medications are those that are known to cause risks to the unborn fetus if the medication is taken during pregnancy. Usually, clinical trials done on animal or human subjects have resulted in problems on the fetus. Basically, the potential risks of category X medications outweigh its perceived benefits.

Animal studies suggest that use of Livalo during pregnancy does not increase the risk for birth defects. However, taking large doses can cause miscarriages.

Although there are no established studies on the effects of Livalo in pregnant women, there are rare reports that indicate congenital anomalies due to exposure to statins during pregnancy. Further studies reveal that Livalo use during pregnancy does not increase the risk for stillbirths, spontaneous abortions and congenital anomalies. However, in most of these cases, the use of the drug has been discontinued during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Theoretically, Livalo and other statins could cause problems when used during pregnancy. Since cholesterol is crucial in the normal development of the fetus, lowering it can potentially harm the fetus. In fact, an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be expected during pregnancy. This increase, however, is not harmful. Usually, the dangerous effects of high cholesterol only happen after many years. Therefore, even if a patient does not receive a cholesterol-lowering medication during pregnancy, the high cholesterol levels can have negligible effects on health.

It is important to inform your physician if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before starting with Livalo. If you become pregnant while on treatment, be sure to contact your physician right away. Usually, the physician will recommend discontinuing the medication throughout the pregnancy.

Livalo While Breastfeeding

The manufacturers of Livalo do not recommend use of this drug while breastfeeding. There are no studies conducted to determine whether this medication is excreted through breast milk of pregnant women. However, animal studies suggest that this drug is passed through the milk. It is important for patients who are breastfeeding a child to talk with their physician before taking this medication.

Although there are no studies that establish the effects of Livalo on breastfed infants, the serious side effects associated with this drug such as muscle problems is ever present and thus a significant cause of concern.

As mentioned earlier, it takes many years before a person can experience health problems due to high cholesterol. So, even if this drug is skipped throughout the pregnancy until breastfeeding, adverse effects are unlikely to happen. Therefore, it is best to avoid Livalo while breastfeeding.