Pitavastatin (Livazo®, Livalo®), an inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase (statin), is indicated for the reduction of elevated total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, in adult patients with primary hypercholesterolaemia and mixed dyslipidaemia, when response to diet and other non-pharmacological measures is inadequate. Pitavastatin has a favourable pharmacological profile following oral administration, including its long half-life (up to 12 hours), selective uptake into hepatocytes and minimal metabolism by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. This latter property decreases the likelihood of drug-drug interactions with agents that are metabolized by, inhibit or induce CYP enzymes.
Pitavastatin improved the lipid profile (including LDL-C, TC and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels) in patients with hypercholesterolaemia and mixed dyslipidaemia, according to large, pivotal phase III studies of up to 60 weeks' duration. In these trials, pitavastatin for 12 weeks was noninferior to simvastatin and atorvastatin in terms of the improvement from baseline in LDL-C levels. In similarly designed trials, pitavastatin improved lipid profiles and was noninferior to simvastatin in patients with high cardiovascular risk and demonstrated significantly greater LDL-C reduction than pravastatin in elderly patients. Furthermore, in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, although noninferiority criteria for the comparison with atorvastatin were not met in terms of the improvement from baseline in LDL-C levels, pitavastatin was associated with some improvements in the lipid profile. Pitavastatin also demonstrated substantial lipid-modifying effects in exclusively Asian populations in well designed clinical trials.
Pitavastatin was generally well tolerated in clinical trials of up to 60 weeks' duration, with a tolerability profile generally similar to that of atorvastatin and simvastatin.
Therefore, pitavastatin appears to be an attractive alternative for the treatment of patients with primary hyperlipidaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia who have not responded adequately to diet and other non-pharmacological measures, and may present a useful treatment option in patients requiring polypharmacy, such as those at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Further studies evaluating the effects of pitavastatin on clinical endpoints, such as cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, are required to confirm the longer-term benefits of pitavastatin.