Livalo (pitavastatin) is a brand-name oral tablet that’s prescribed to help lower cholesterol in adults and certain children. As with other drugs, Livalo can cause side effects, such as muscle pain and diarrhea.
Livalo can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Livalo in clinical trials:
Mild side effects can occur with Livalo. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Livalo’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects that have been reported with Livalo include:
These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Livalo and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.
* An allergic reaction is possible after taking Livalo. To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
Livalo may rarely cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Livalo’s prescribing information.
If you develop serious side effects while taking Livalo, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:
- High blood sugar. Symptoms can include:
- increased thirst
- frequent urge to urinate
- Elevated liver enzymes.*
- Myopathy and rhabdomyolysis.*
- Severe allergic reaction.†
* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after taking Livalo. To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
Livalo may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.
Does Livalo 2 mg cause fewer side effects than Livalo 4 mg?
It’s possible. Most of the side effects reported in Livalo’s clinical trials were similar between 2-milligram (mg) and 4-mg doses. However, muscle pain was more commonly reported by people taking the 4-mg dose.
The FDA has not approved doses higher than 4 mg. Higher doses may increase the risk of severe myopathy. For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
If you have any questions or concerns about the expected side effects of your Livalo dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Can Livalo cause hair loss or weight gain?
No, neither hair loss nor weight gain were reported side effects in Livalo’s clinical trials.
Keep in mind that Livalo should be taken in combination with following a low cholesterol diet. Sometimes, dietary changes can lead to changes in your weight.
Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about hair loss or weight changes while taking Livalo.
Learn more about some of the side effects that Livalo may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Livalo.
Elevated liver enzymes
Livalo can cause elevated liver enzymes. In clinical trials, this side effect typically went away on its own or after a brief pause in Livalo treatment.
On its own, elevated liver enzymes don’t typically cause symptoms. However, it could be a symptom of a more serious liver problem, such as liver failure. (Liver failure wasn’t reported in Livalo’s clinical trials. However, rare cases have been reported since the drug was approved for use.)
Other symptoms of a liver problem can include:
What you can do
Before your doctor prescribes Livalo, talk with your doctor about any factors that may affect your liver health. If you have a liver problem or frequently drink alcohol, you may have a higher risk of this side effect. If you have a serious liver problem, your doctor will likely not prescribe Livalo.
Regardless of whether you’ve ever had a liver condition, your doctor will order a liver function test to make sure your liver is working as expected. If necessary, they’ll also monitor your liver function throughout treatment with Livalo.
If you develop any symptoms of a liver problem, talk with your doctor right away. They can determine what’s causing this side effect and decide whether Livalo is safe for you to continue taking.
Myopathy and rhabdomyolysis
Livalo belongs to a class of drugs called statins. Drugs in this class, including Livalo, may cause myopathy (muscle pain and weakness). In clinical trials of Livalo, this was a rare but serious side effect.
Symptoms of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis may be severe. They can include:
What you can do
Certain risk factors may increase your risk of myopathy or rhabdomyolysis. These include:
- being age 65 years or older
- taking a higher dose of Livalo
- having certain kidney problems or an underactive thyroid
- taking certain medications that can interact with Livalo
If you have a higher risk of this side effect, your doctor will determine whether Livalo is safe for you to take. If you experience any of the above symptoms during treatment, talk with your doctor. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms. However, if your symptoms are urgent or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you develop myopathy or rhabdomyolysis, your doctor will likely stop prescribing Livalo for your high cholesterol.
Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:
- skin rash
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What you can do
For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Livalo. However, if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Livalo. This drug may not be the right treatment option for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These include:
Liver problems: Livalo can cause elevated liver enzymes, which can be a symptom of a liver problem. If you already have liver damage, taking Livalo could increase your risk of further damage. Tell your doctor if you have any liver problems before starting treatment with Livalo. They may recommend a different treatment option.
Kidney problems: If you have a kidney problem, such as chronic kidney disease, talk with your doctor before you start taking Livalo. This drug may cause rhabdomyolysis, which can increase your risk of kidney failure. If you already have a kidney problem, you may have a higher risk of this side effect. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Livalo for your condition.
Underactive thyroid: Before you take Livalo, tell your doctor whether you’ve ever had a thyroid condition. If you have untreated hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels), you may have a higher risk of myopathy with Livalo. Your doctor will determine whether this drug is safe for you to take.
Alcohol consumption: If you drink alcohol, Livalo may not be safe for you to take. Drinking alcohol during treatment with Livalo may increase your risk of liver problems. If you drink alcohol, our doctor can tell you how much, if any, is safe to consume with Livalo. For more information about statins and alcohol, see this article.
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 what other medications may be better options for you.
Pregnancy or breastfeeding: If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, Livalo is likely not safe for you to take. Talk with your doctor if you’re breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant. They can recommend different treatment options for you. If you become pregnant during treatment with this drug, tell your doctor right away. They will likely stop prescribing Livalo during your pregnancy.
As with most medications, Livalo can cause side effects. Most are mild and typically go away on their own after a few days to weeks. You should talk with your doctor if you have any side effects that last, are bothersome, or are serious.
If you’d like to learn more about Livalo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.
Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:
- More information about Livalo: For details about other aspects of Livalo, refer to this article.
- Dosage: For information about the dosage of Livalo, view this article.
- Interactions: To find out about Livalo’s interactions, see this article.
- A look at high cholesterol: For details about high cholesterol, see our cholesterol hub.
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.