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What Is Pitavastatin?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pitavastatin is medication belonging to a group of drugs called statins, which are principally prescribed to lower high or borderline-high cholesterol levels. This particular medicine is only appropriate for adults, and certain other medical conditions may contraindicate its use. The drug has a number of serious interactions with other medications. It also has benign and severe adverse effects that are experienced by a small percentage of patients.

Statins are often more formally named 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, which better explains their actions. These medications prevent production of HMG-CoA reductase, which subsequently reduces the amount of cholesterol that the liver can produce. Specifically, pitavastatin elevates “good” cholesterol levels, and it lowers both “bad” and total cholesterol counts via this inhibition process.

There are a number of patients who are not good candidates for this medication. Children shouldn’t take it, and pregnant or nursing women are advised against its use. Certain medical conditions contraindicate pitavastatin, including thyroid, liver, and kidney disease. Chronic drinkers are also more at risk when using this medication, and even mild alcohol consumption is not advised in conjunction with the drug.

A number of medications interact with pitavastatin, too. These include drugs like erythromycin, warfarin, and rifampin. Patients should make sure to present doctors with a complete list of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines and supplements to avoid dangerous interactions.

Interestingly, pitavastatin can also become less effective if it is used with grapefruit juice. Moreover, patients must follow a low cholesterol diet while using this drug. Otherwise, they may have only limited success with it.

In terms of side effects, most people tolerate pitavastatin well, but some individuals experience one or more benign side effects. These include pain in the back, constipation, and diarrhea. Some people do not experience any of these, while others are made seriously uncomfortable by these symptoms. If an adverse reaction becomes troublesome, patients should notify their physicians.

A small percentage of pitavastatin users will experience serious side effects. These require immediate medical attention. One of the most dangerous reactions is severe allergy, which includes symptoms of hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.

Additionally, people taking pitavastatin should watch for a sudden onset of flu symptoms, nausea, or fever. Signs of jaundice, like yellowing of the whites of the eyes, may signify that the liver is compromised. Other serious side effects are bleeding, fatigue, and stomach pain on the upper right side. Patients should not delay getting assistance from medical professionals if any of these adverse reactions occur.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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