Livalo is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s FDA-approved to treat certain forms of high cholesterol when used in combination with a low-cholesterol diet.

Specifically, Livalo is used to treat:

  • Primary hyperlipidemia in adults. Primary hyperlipidemia is a genetic (inherited) condition that causes high cholesterol.
  • Mixed dyslipidemia in adults. Mixed dyslipidemia is caused by both high and low levels of certain types of cholesterol. This typically describes a combination of high triglycerides, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. (LDL is often called “bad cholesterol,” while HDL is often called “good cholesterol.”)
  • Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) in children ages 8 years and older. This is a type of familial hypercholesterolemia. It’s a genetic condition that causes high LDL cholesterol. It’s also a type of primary hyperlipidemia.

Livalo has certain limitations of use. For more information, see the “Livalo uses” section below.

Drug details

Livalo contains the active drug pitavastatin. It belongs to a drug class called statins.

Livalo comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s available in three strengths: 1 milligram (mg), 2 mg, and 4 mg.

You’ll likely take Livalo once a day.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Livalo, see the “Livalo uses” section below.

Livalo contains the active drug pitavastatin. It’s available only as a brand-name medication. Livalo isn’t currently available in generic form.

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

The Livalo dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • your cholesterol levels and treatment goals
  • your age
  • other medical conditions you may have
  • other medications you take

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug form

Livalo comes as tablets that you swallow.

Drug strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 4 mg

Livalo is available in three strengths: 1 milligram (mg), 2 mg, and 4 mg.

Dosage for high cholesterol

The usual starting dosage of Livalo for high cholesterol is 2 mg once each day.

After you’ve taken the drug for 4 weeks, your doctor will check your cholesterol level. If your level is still high, they may increase your dose.

The maximum recommended dosage of Livalo is 4 mg once a day.

Your doctor may give you a different dosage depending on several factors, including whether you have kidney disease. If you have questions about the dosage that’s right for you, talk with your doctor.

Children’s dosage

Livalo is approved to treat a certain form of high cholesterol in children ages 8 years and older. The drug is used in combination with a low-cholesterol diet.

The dosage of Livalo used in children is the same as the one used in adults. For details, see the “Dosage for high cholesterol” section above.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Livalo, take your missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it’s been more than 12 hours since your missed dose, just skip it.

You can take your next dose again on your regular schedule. If you aren’t sure whether to take a missed dose or skip it, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Do not take any extra doses to make up for a missed dose. Doing this can raise your risk for side effects of Livalo. (For information about the drug’s side effects, see the “Livalo side effects” section below.)

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Livalo is meant to be a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine Livalo is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Livalo to treat certain conditions. Livalo may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Livalo for high cholesterol

Livalo is a cholesterol medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat certain forms of high cholesterol when used in combination with a low-cholesterol diet.

Specifically, Livalo is used to treat:

  • Primary hyperlipidemia in adults. Primary hyperlipidemia is a genetic (inherited) condition that causes high cholesterol. For this use, Livalo helps increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is often called “good cholesterol.” It also helps lower levels of:
    • low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is often called “bad cholesterol”
    • triglycerides, which are the “building blocks” of cholesterol
    • apolipoprotein B (Apo B), which is the main protein found in LDL cholesterol
    • total cholesterol, which describes the overall level of cholesterol in your blood and is made up of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides
  • Mixed dyslipidemia in adults. Mixed dyslipidemia is caused by both high and low levels of certain types of cholesterol. This typically describes a combination of high triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, and low HDL cholesterol. For this use, Livalo helps increase levels of HDL. It also helps lower levels of:
    • total cholesterol
    • LDL cholesterol
    • triglycerides
    • Apo B
  • Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) in children ages 8 years and older. This is a type of familial hypercholesterolemia. It’s a genetic condition that causes high LDL cholesterol. It’s also a type of primary hyperlipidemia. For this use, Livalo helps lower levels of:
    • total cholesterol
    • LDL cholesterol
    • Apo B

About cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that’s found naturally in your body. Your liver makes cholesterol, but it can also be found in foods such as cheese, eggs, and meat. Cholesterol helps your body make important substances such as hormones and vitamins.

Having higher levels of cholesterol than your body uses can lead to serious problems, including heart disease. High cholesterol can be caused by genetic (inherited) factors as well as eating high-cholesterol foods and not getting enough exercise.

High cholesterol doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. Your doctor will give you a blood test called a lipid panel to determine whether you have high cholesterol.

You can learn more about cholesterol by visiting our cholesterol hub.

Limitation of use

Some drugs used to treat high cholesterol can also lower the risk of death and certain health conditions related to heart disease. But it isn’t known how Livalo may affect these risks.

Effectiveness for high cholesterol

Livalo has been found effective for treating high cholesterol. For details on how Livalo performed in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Additionally, the American Heart Association guidelines include Livalo as a recommended treatment option for high cholesterol.

Livalo and children

Livalo is FDA-approved to treat heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) in children ages 8 years and older. It’s used for this purpose in combination with a low-cholesterol diet.

To learn more about this condition and how Livalo is used to treat it, see the sections above.

Livalo is approved to treat certain forms of high cholesterol in combination with a low-cholesterol diet.

Your liver makes cholesterol, but it can also be found in foods such as cheese, eggs, and meat. Eating too many high-cholesterol foods can increase your cholesterol.

While you’re taking Livalo, your doctor will likely recommend that you eat a low-cholesterol diet. This type of diet may include foods that are high in fiber, such as nuts and legumes. And your doctor may recommend limiting or avoiding high-fat foods, such as red meat and potato chips.

Following a low-cholesterol diet may help lower your risk for heart disease. For more information about the recommended diet when taking Livalo, talk with your doctor.

As with all medications, the cost of Livalo can vary. To find current prices for Livalo in your area, check out GoodRx.com.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The price for 2-mg tablets is usually the same as the prices for other strengths of Livalo. But the actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Livalo. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

Before approving coverage for Livalo, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure about prior authorization for Livalo, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Livalo, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available. You can check for insurance coverage of this drug here.

Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, the manufacturer of Livalo, offers ways to lower the cost of its drug. For example, its savings card can help reduce the drug’s cost. For more information about the savings card, call 844-567-9504 or visit the manufacturer’s site.

The manufacturer also provides other financial assistance for this drug. To see if you qualify for this support, call 877-438-9759 or visit the manufacturer’s site.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Mail-order pharmacies

Livalo may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Livalo, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic form cost

Livalo is not available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Livalo can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Livalo. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Livalo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

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 side effects

Mild side effects* of Livalo can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Livalo. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Livalo’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Livalo aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms, which are described in “Side effect details” below, can include:

Side effects in children

Livalo is approved to treat a certain form of high cholesterol in children ages 8 years and older. The side effects of Livalo in children are expected to be the same as those in adults.

For more information, see the “Mild side effects” and “Serious side effects” sections above.

Side effect details

Here are some details on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Muscle damage and pain

Muscle damage and muscle pain are possible side effects of Livalo. Muscle pain was a common side effect in clinical studies of the drug.

In rare cases, Livalo may cause muscle damage that leads to more serious problems. This includes conditions such as:

  • Rhabdomyolysis. With rhabdomyolysis, muscle cells die and release their contents into the blood. These substances can cause kidney failure. Rhabdomyolysis can be life threatening if it isn’t treated.
  • Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM). With IMNM, your immune system attacks your muscles and kills your muscle cells. IMNM can cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, trouble moving your arms or legs, and falling.

To find out how often these side effects occurred in clinical studies, see Livalo’s prescribing information.

Your risk for muscle damage and pain with Livalo is highest right after you start taking the drug, or after your dosage is increased. Your risk may also be higher if you take certain other drugs together with Livalo. For details, see the “Livalo interactions” section below.

A few other factors can increase your risk for muscle damage and pain with Livalo. These include:

Before taking Livalo, tell your doctor if any of the risk factors above apply to you. Let them know if you have any muscle pain or weakness while taking Livalo, especially if these symptoms occur with fever or feeling unwell. They may order tests to check whether these are signs of more serious muscle damage.

Liver problems

In rare cases, Livalo may cause high levels of liver enzymes (types of proteins). This can be a sign of serious liver problems.

To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see Livalo’s prescribing information.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any symptoms of liver problems while taking Livalo. These can include:

Before you start taking Livalo, your doctor may order liver function tests for you. The results of these tests will help your doctor understand if your liver is working properly.

Your doctor may also order liver function tests while you’re taking this drug. If the tests show that you have liver problems, your doctor may switch you to a different treatment.

If you have liver problems, tell your doctor before starting Livalo treatment. Due to the risk of liver problems, your doctor typically will not prescribe Livalo if you already have a liver condition.

Increased blood sugar level

In rare cases, Livalo may cause an increased blood sugar level.

To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Symptoms of high blood sugar include:

  • increased thirst
  • urinating more often than usual

Having high blood sugar over a long period of time can raise your risk for diabetes. But maintaining a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk for this condition. For example, exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, and maintaining a healthy weight may help prevent diabetes.

If you’re concerned about having an increased blood sugar level while taking Livalo, talk with your doctor. They can discuss your risk for this side effect.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Livalo.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Livalo, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

There aren’t any known interactions between Livalo and alcohol.

However, both alcohol and Livalo can cause liver problems. People who have misused alcohol may have a higher risk for liver problems with Livalo.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to continue while taking Livalo. And if you have a history of heavy drinking or liver damage, be sure to tell your doctor before you begin taking Livalo.

Livalo can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Livalo and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with Livalo. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Livalo.

Before taking Livalo, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

Taking Livalo with certain medications may increase your risk for muscle damage and pain* as a side effect.

Due to this interaction, doctors typically will not prescribe Livalo with the following drugs:

Other drugs that may increase your risk for muscle damage and pain with Livalo include:

  • erythromycin (E.E.S., EryTab), which is used to treat infections
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), which is used to treat tuberculosis
  • fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen, Tricor), which is used to treat high cholesterol
  • niacin (Niacor), which is used to treat high cholesterol
  • colchicine (Colcrys, Mitigare), which is used to treat gout

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” in the “Livalo side effects” section above.

Livalo and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Livalo. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Livalo.

Livalo and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Livalo, including grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

However, certain statins do interact with grapefruit. (Keep in mind that Livalo is a statin.)

Because of this, it’s recommended that you avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking certain statin drugs. This may include Livalo. Grapefruit could possibly increase the level of Livalo in your body. And this could increase your risk for side effects from Livalo.

If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Livalo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

You should take Livalo according to the instructions your doctor gives you.

Livalo comes as tablets that you’ll swallow.

When to take

You’ll likely take Livalo once a day. You can take the drug at any time, but try to take your dose around the same time each day.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Taking Livalo with food

You can take Livalo with or without food.

Can Livalo be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, Livalo can’t be crushed, split, or chewed. You should swallow the tablets whole. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have trouble swallowing Livalo tablets.

Livalo is approved to treat certain forms of high cholesterol in adults and children. The drug is used in combination with a low-cholesterol diet.

What cholesterol is

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that’s found naturally in your body. Your liver makes cholesterol, but it can also be found in foods such as cheese, eggs, and meat.

Cholesterol helps your body make important substances such as hormones and vitamins. But having higher levels of cholesterol than your body uses can lead to serious problems, including heart disease.

What Livalo does

Livalo belongs to a group of drugs called statins. It works by blocking a certain enzyme (a type of protein) that helps your body make cholesterol. By blocking this enzyme, Livalo helps lower your cholesterol levels.

How long does it take to work?

It may take about several weeks for your cholesterol levels to improve after you start taking Livalo. You likely won’t notice Livalo working in your body.

However, your doctor will check your cholesterol levels with a test called a lipid panel. They’ll order this blood test about 4 weeks after you start taking the drug. If your cholesterol levels haven’t improved, they may increase your Livalo dosage.

It’s not known if Livalo is safe to use while pregnant. This drug hasn’t been studied during pregnancy. However, it’s recommended that you avoid taking it during pregnancy because of the way it works in your body.

If you become pregnant while taking Livalo, stop taking the drug and tell your doctor right away.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking Livalo, talk with your doctor about other possible treatments.

Livalo is not safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re taking Livalo.

For more information about taking Livalo during pregnancy, see the “Livalo and pregnancy” section above.

Note: Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “male” and “female” below refers to sex assigned at birth.

For females taking Livalo

Females who are able to become pregnant should use birth control while taking Livalo. Talk with your doctor about birth control options that may be best for you.

For males taking Livalo

The manufacturer of Livalo hasn’t given birth control recommendations for males taking the drug. If you’re taking Livalo while sexually active with a partner who could become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while taking Livalo. It isn’t known if the drug passes into breast milk. However, other statin drugs are known to pass into breast milk.

It’s possible Livalo could cause side effects in a breastfed child. For this reason, you should not breastfeed while you’re taking it.

If you have questions about the best way to feed a child while you’re taking Livalo, talk with your doctor.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Livalo.

Can I take Livalo if I’ll be having surgery?

If you’re going to have a planned surgery while taking Livalo, you may have to temporarily stop taking the drug. This is because having surgery can increase your risk for muscle damage and muscle pain with Livalo. (For more information about these conditions, see “Side effect details” in the “Livalo side effects” section above.)

If you plan to have surgery during Livalo treatment, talk with your doctor. They’ll advise if you should stop taking Livalo.

Is Livalo safe for older people to take?

Yes, in general, Livalo is safe for older people to take. Clinical studies of Livalo didn’t show any difference in side effects between older and younger people.

However, people ages 65 years and older may have a higher risk for muscle damage and muscle pain with Livalo. For more information about this, see “Side effect details” in the “Livalo side effects” section above.

Keep in mind that older people may also have health conditions that impact the way their bodies respond to Livalo. These include liver and kidney problems. And these conditions could increase the risk for side effects from the drug.

Because of this risk, it’s recommended that people ages 65 years and older start with a low dosage of Livalo. (For more information on dosing, see the “Livalo dosage” section above.) Their doctor may increase their dosage over time until Livalo works well.

If you’re age 65 or older, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Livalo to treat your condition.

Does Livalo cure high cholesterol?

No, Livalo won’t cure high cholesterol. In fact, there isn’t a known cure for this condition.

However, Livalo has been found effective for treating certain forms of high cholesterol when used in combination with a low-cholesterol diet. For details, see the “Livalo uses” section above.

Livalo works by blocking a certain enzyme (a type of protein) that helps your body make cholesterol. By blocking this enzyme, Livalo helps lower your cholesterol levels. As long as you’re taking it, Livalo will work to lower your cholesterol and keep it at a healthy level.

Once you stop taking the drug, your body might make more cholesterol. And this could cause your cholesterol levels to increase again.

If you have questions about how Livalo works to treat your high cholesterol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Before taking Livalo, talk with your doctor about your health history. Livalo may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Kidney problems. Tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, such as kidney disease, before taking Livalo. The drug can cause muscle damage and pain. (For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” in the “Livalo side effects” sectionabove.) If you have kidney problems, you may have a higher risk for this side effect. Your doctor may also give you a different dosage of the drug than what is usually prescribed. They can tell you if it’s safe for you to take Livalo.
  • Liver problems. If you have liver problems, such as liver disease, tell your doctor before starting Livalo treatment. Livalo may cause liver problems as a side effect. Due to this risk, your doctor typically will not prescribe Livalo if you already have this condition.
  • Low level of thyroid hormone. Before starting Livalo treatment, tell your doctor if you have a low thyroid hormone level that isn’t being treated. Livalo can cause muscle damage and pain. (For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” in the “Livalo side effects” section above.) If you have a low level of thyroid hormone, you may have a higher risk for this side effect. Your doctor can tell you if it’s safe for you to take Livalo.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Livalo or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Livalo. Ask your doctor about other medications that might be better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. You should not take Livalo while pregnant. For more information, see the “Livalo and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not safe to breastfeed while taking Livalo. For more information, see the “Livalo and breastfeeding” section above.
  • Heavy alcohol use. Livalo can cause liver problems. You may have a higher risk for this side effect if you have a history of heavy alcohol use. Tell your doctor if you have a history of heavy alcohol use before starting Livalo. They’ll advise whether it’s safe for you to take the drug.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Livalo, see the “Livalo side effects” section above.

Do not use more Livalo than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.

What to do in case you take too much Livalo

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

When you get Livalo from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Livalo tablets should be stored at room temperature, which is between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). You should keep the tablets in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Livalo and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today 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.