Livalo (pitavastatin)

Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth Scheffel, PharmD

About Livalo

Livalo is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat:

For both conditions, Livalo should be used in combination with changes in diet to help decrease cholesterol levels.

This medication has a limitation of use. For details about these conditions and how the drug treats them, see the “Livalo: Uses” section below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Livalo.

Active drug pitavastatin
Drug class HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, which is also called a statin
Form oral tablet

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Livalo: Generic

Livalo contains the active drug pitavastatin. It only comes as a brand-name medication. And it isn’t currently available as a generic drug.

A generic is an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication. Generics typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

Livalo: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Livalo. These can include some mild side effects but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Livalo’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Livalo, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Livalo are listed below. This article does not include all of Livalo’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Livalo may include:

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

* This is not a complete list of Livalo’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† To learn more about allergic reaction, see below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects of Livalo may include:

Serious side effects from Livalo aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

* To learn more about allergic reaction, see below.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Livalo. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Livalo, call your doctor right away. This is important because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Livalo: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Livalo. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

Most often, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Livalo. Then, they’ll change the dosage over time to an amount that’s right for the condition being treated. Doctors typically prescribe the smallest dosage that gives the desired outcome.

The dosage of Livalo that your doctor prescribes will depend on factors such as:

  • any health conditions you have, such as kidney problems
  • the condition you’re using Livalo to treat and the severity of the condition
  • other medications that you’re taking
  • how well Livalo is working for you

Livalo’s forms and strengths

Livalo is available as follows.

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths:
    • 1 milligram (mg)
    • 2 mg
    • 4 mg

Livalo’s recommended dosages

Recommended dosages for Livalo in adults and children are described below.

Adult dosage

Recommended dosages for Livalo in adults are as follows.

  • Starting dosage: 2 mg once per day
  • Maintenance dosage: 2 mg to 4 mg once per day
  • Maximum dosage: 4 mg once per day

Child dosage

Recommended dosages for Livalo in children ages 8 years and older are as follows.

  • Starting dosage: 2 mg once per day
  • Maintenance dosage: 2 mg to 4 mg once per day
  • Maximum dosage: 4 mg once per day

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Livalo’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Livalo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help you determine when to take your next dose. In some cases, they may recommend taking your dose as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, they may recommend skipping your missed dose and taking your next dose as scheduled. Try these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Livalo as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Livalo: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Livalo for your condition. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Livalo is used to manage cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Here’s a summary of other drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for this purpose.

Your doctor can tell you about other similar drugs, such as:

For additional information about alternatives to Livalo, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for your condition. They can also tell you how Livalo compares with other statins.

Livalo: Uses

Prescription drugs, such as Livalo, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions.

Using Livalo for high cholesterol

Livalo is approved by the FDA to treat the following conditions.

  • Primary hyperlipidemia. Doctors can prescribe Livalo to treat primary hyperlipidemia in adults. This condition causes high cholesterol and is genetic (inherited).
  • Mixed dyslipidemia. Doctors can prescribe Livalo to treat mixed dyslipidemia in adults. With this condition, certain types of cholesterol are either too high or too low. Livalo helps lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL), triglycerides, and other forms of cholesterol. These types of cholesterol are commonly called “bad cholesterol.” Livalo also helps increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which are commonly called “good cholesterol.”
  • Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). Doctors can prescribe Livalo to treat this type of familial hypercholesterolemia in children ages 8 years and older. HeFH is a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol.

High cholesterol can occur when there’s too much cholesterol in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol for certain functions, such as making hormones and vitamin D. However, too much cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of serious problems, such as heart attack or stroke.

In most cases, you won’t have any symptoms due to high cholesterol. Your doctor will check your cholesterol levels by ordering a blood test. Then, they will determine the best treatment plan to help decrease your cholesterol levels if needed.

Livalo’s limitation of use

The manufacturer of Livalo has noted a limitation to the drug’s use. This is a situation in which the drug may not be prescribed.

Specifically, it’s not known whether Livalo decreases the risk of heart problems that can cause illness or death. So, doctors aren’t likely to prescribe the drug for this purpose.

If you’d like to know whether Livalo is the best treatment option for your condition, talk with your doctor.

Taking Livalo with other therapies

Livalo is meant to be used in combination with changes to your diet to help manage your cholesterol levels. Your doctor can help to recommend diet changes that can reduce your cholesterol levels with Livalo.

Using Livalo in children

Livalo is approved for use in children ages 8 years and older with a genetic condition called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). This is a disease that leads to high cholesterol levels in children.

For details about high cholesterol, see “Using Livalo for high cholesterol” above.

For more information on whether Livalo may be a safe or effective treatment option for your child, talk with their doctor.

Finding a healthcare professional for Livalo

If you’re interested in taking Livalo, you can find a doctor who might prescribe it by searching here. To prepare for your doctor’s appointment, see our appointment guide for high cholesterol.  

Livalo: Cost

As with other medications, prices for Livalo may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

Cost considerations for Livalo

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Livalo.

  • Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Livalo is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Livalo. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Livalo, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Livalo is available. The Livalo Savings Program may help reduce the drug’s cost. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Use of a mail-order pharmacy. Livalo may be dispensed through mail-order pharmacies. Getting your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy could lower its cost. It can also allow you to get the drug without leaving home. To find out more about this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Availability of a generic form. Livalo doesn’t come in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Typically, generics cost less than brand-name drugs.

Livalo: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Livalo and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Do Livalo 2-mg dose side effects differ from those of other doses?

You may experience milder side effects with a 2-milligram (mg) dose of Livalo compared to a 4-mg dose. This is because your body is exposed to less medication. That said, the side effects themselves aren’t likely to be different with varying doses.

Similarly, if you take a 1-mg dose, you may have milder side effects than if you take a 2-mg dose.

If you’re experiencing side effects that are bothersome to you, talk with your doctor. They can determine the best dose for you.

Is there an interaction between Livalo and grapefruit?

It’s possible that grapefruit may increase the amount of Livalo in your body.

Other statin medications, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and pravastatin, are known to interact with grapefruit. So, people taking these statins should avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice during treatment.

However, the manufacturer of Livalo doesn’t make any recommendations about avoiding grapefruit during treatment with this drug.

If you have questions about what you can eat or drink during treatment with Livalo, talk with your doctor.

Livalo: Consuming alcohol during treatment

Your doctor may recommend limiting the amount of alcohol that you drink while you’re taking Livalo. This is because Livalo may affect your liver. Alcohol may also cause liver problems. So, you may have an increased risk of liver problems if you consume alcohol during Livalo treatment.

If you would like to drink alcohol while you’re taking Livalo, talk with your doctor about how much may be safe for you to consume.

Livalo: Interactions

Livalo may interact with other medications and certain supplements. It’s not known to interact with foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

Before you start Livalo, be sure to tell your doctor about any medications, herbs, vitamins, or supplements you take. They can check for any possible interactions between these products and Livalo.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

  • Livalo and certain drugs. The manufacturer of Livalo advises that these drugs should not be taken together. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor if these drugs have been prescribed together for you.
  • Livalo and other medications. Because Livalo may interact with the following drugs, your doctor may recommend you do not take it with these drugs. In other cases, they may prescribe you a lower dose of Livalo than usual. Examples include:
  • Livalo and herbs and supplements. Certain herbs and supplements may interact with Livalo. Examples include:
    • niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Livalo and foods. There aren’t any known interactions between Livalo and foods.

For information about drug-condition interactions, see the “Livalo: Precautions” section below.

Livalo: How to take

Your doctor will recommend how you should take Livalo. It’s important to take the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

This medication comes as a tablet that you swallow.

Questions about taking Livalo

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking Livalo.

  • When should I take Livalo? You should take your dose of Livalo once per day. Taking Livalo around the same time of day helps keep a steady level in your body. This helps the medication work effectively. Try these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses of Livalo. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to take Livalo with food? No, you can take Livalo with or without food.
  • Can Livalo be chewed, split, or crushed? No, you should not chew, split or crush Livalo tablets. You should swallow Livalo tablets whole.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Livalo? You can take Livalo at any time of day that’s convenient for you. However, it’s important to try to take your dose of Livalo at the same time each day.

Livalo: How it works

Livalo is prescribed to treat:

For both conditions, the drug helps to lower cholesterol levels. High cholesterol occurs when there is too much cholesterol in your blood. For information about high cholesterol, see the “Livalo: Uses” section above.

Livalo works by blocking a protein called HMG-CoA reductase. This protein helps your body make cholesterol. By blocking the protein, Livalo slows down your body’s ability to make cholesterol. This decreases your low-density lipoproteins (LDL), triglycerides, and certain other forms of cholesterol.

These types of cholesterol are commonly known as “bad cholesterol.” Livalo can also help to increase your high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which are commonly known as “good cholesterol.”

How long does Livalo take to start working?

Livalo will begin working as soon as you take your first dose of the medication. However, it may take time before your cholesterol levels decrease.

Because you likely won’t have symptoms of high cholesterol, your doctor will order a blood test to see if Livalo is working. This should be done 4 weeks after you start treatment with Livalo. So, it may take 4 weeks before you know of a decrease in your cholesterol levels.

Livalo: Taking while pregnant

Your doctor will recommend that you do not take Livalo during pregnancy.

Livalo may cause harm to a developing fetus if taken during pregnancy. Studies of other statins showed harm to a fetus when they were taken during pregnancy. Due to this risk, your doctor will recommend that you stop taking Livalo if you become pregnant while taking the drug.  

Animal studies did not show an increased risk of congenital anomalies (commonly known as birth defects) in animals given the drug during pregnancy. However, animal studies do not always indicate what may happen in humans.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking Livalo.

Livalo: Birth control needs

Livalo may cause harm to a developing fetus. Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Livalo if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

If you’d like to learn more about taking Livalo during pregnancy, see the “Livalo: Taking while pregnant” section above.

Note: Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the terms “male” and “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

For females taking Livalo

Females who can become pregnant should use an effective form of contraception during treatment with Livalo. This is because Livalo may cause harm to a developing fetus. Talk with your doctor about the best form of birth control for you to use while you’re taking Livalo.

For males taking Livalo

The manufacturer of Livalo doesn’t make any recommendations about birth control needs in males. If you have questions about birth control for men taking Livalo, talk with your doctor.

Livalo: Taking while breastfeeding

Your doctor will recommend that you do not take Livalo while you’re breastfeeding. It’s not known whether the drug is safe for a breastfed child.

Drugs that are similar to Livalo have been shown to pass into breast milk. So, it’s possible that a breastfed child may be exposed to Livalo. It’s not known for sure what effects Livalo may have on a breastfed child. However, due to the possible risks, it’s not recommended to breastfeed while taking the medication.

If you would like to breastfeed, talk with your doctor to determine the best treatment for your high cholesterol. If you are taking Livalo, talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your child.

Livalo: Precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Livalo. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions. These situations are considered drug-condition interactions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Liver problems. Tell your doctor about any liver problems that you have before you start taking Livalo. This medication can cause liver problems or worsen existing liver problems. If you have liver problems, your doctor will likely recommend a different medication to treat your condition.
  • Kidney problems. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may recommend a lower dose of Livalo than usual. This is because kidney problems can increase your risk of side effects with Livalo. Your doctor can determine the best dose of Livalo for you to take if you have kidney problems.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Livalo if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. You should not take Livalo during pregnancy. If you’d like additional information about taking Livalo while pregnant, view the “Livalo: Taking while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding.  You should not take Livalo while you’re breastfeeding. If you’d like additional information about taking Livalo while breastfeeding, view the “Livalo: Taking while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Livalo that could be harmful, see the “Livalo: Side effects” section above.

Livalo: Overdose

For some drugs, taking more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose. Do not use more Livalo than your doctor advises.

What to do if you take too much Livalo

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Livalo: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Livalo’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

  • Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Livalo’s bottle. This date is usually 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you avoid taking expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.
  • Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. Livalo tablets should be stored at room temperature, between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Disposal. It’s important to safely dispose of Livalo if you no longer need to take it and have unused medication. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps avoid causing harm to the environment. Ask your pharmacist for information about disposing of Livalo. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Livalo: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Livalo, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Livalo could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Do I have an increased risk of side effects because of my other health conditions?
  • How can I treat side effects from Livalo?
  • If this medication isn’t working for me, can my dose be increased?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find this article helpful in learning about alternative cholesterol drugs.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades 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 another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein 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.

Medical Reviewer: Elizabeth Scheffel, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Jul 3
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.