The Unseen Risks of High Cholesterol: One Patient’s Heart Health Journey

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(BPT) - Nineteen-year-old Debbie lived a healthy life – she was active, ate well, refrained from smoking, she felt great – which is why it was shocking to learn from her doctor that she had high cholesterol.

With typically no physical signs or symptoms, high cholesterol can be dangerous if left unmanaged. It can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, slowly blocking the flow of blood to the heart, which may lead to a heart attack, or to the brain, which can result in a stroke. This buildup was happening to Debbie, and she was unaware until her doctor checked her cholesterol levels.

“The way [the doctors] presented the information to me was, ‘You could have a heart attack at any moment,’ Debbie said.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month – for the 102 million Americans who suffer from high cholesterol, like Debbie, this month is a time to learn about their diagnosis and ensure that they find the best treatment for them. And for the others who don’t know if they have high cholesterol, now is the time to get their levels checked.

It wasn’t until Debbie’s doctor recommended a statin in addition to her diet and exercise regimen that she was able to get her cholesterol back to safe levels. Cholesterol comes from what we eat and what our bodies make in the liver. Statins work by blocking the enzyme involved in a critical step in the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. There are multiple statins available, but they are not all the same and individual experiences may vary; therefore, each individual should talk to their doctor to find the right fit for them.

For Debbie, the right fit was, and is, LIVALO® (pitavastatin). After starting LIVALO three years ago, her only regret is that she did not start sooner. The most common side effects for LIVALO in clinical studies were back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle pain and pain in the legs or arms.

LIVALO is a statin, and statins, along with a heart-healthy diet and exercise, help to lower total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C or “bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, Apo B and to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C or “good”) cholesterol. Because LIVALO is processed in a less crowded pathway, it may be less likely to cause certain drug interactions. Often doctors choose to prescribe LIVALO for people who need a statin and are taking multiple medications to treat other conditions because it has a reduced potential of interacting with other medicines.

Debbie can still do the activities she participated in prior to starting LIVALO, like running, traveling, and enjoying quality time with her two grandchildren, only now, she has peace of mind knowing LIVALO is helping to keep her cholesterol in check. LIVALO is not right for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if: You have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients, you have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results, you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby, or you are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil.

Inspired by her diagnosis, Debbie became a cardiac nurse and advocate for patients who suffer from high cholesterol. Debbie takes advantage of every opportunity to share her story with her patients and let them know they’re not alone.

In Debbie’s own words, “life is too short to not enjoy it.” Start your health journey by downloading the LIVALO doctor discussion guide and having an open conversation with your doctor about your cholesterol management. Find a treatment plan that is right for you.

Important Safety Information for LIVALO® (pitavastatin) tablets

What is LIVALO?

  • LIVALO is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a “statin” for adults with high cholesterol that, along with a heart-healthy diet, helps to lower total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and Apo B and to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL-C).
  • LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death.

Who should NOT take LIVALO?

LIVALO is not right for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if:

  • You have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients.
  • You have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results.
  • You are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby.
  • You are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil.

What is the most important information I should know and talk to my doctor about?

  • Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, or hives.
  • Muscle problems may be an early sign of rare, serious conditions. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever, or if these muscle signs or symptoms persist after discontinuing LIVALO.
  • Serious liver problems have been reported rarely in patients taking statins, including LIVALO. Your doctor should do liver tests before you start, and if you have symptoms of liver problems while you are taking LIVALO. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you feel more tired than usual, have a loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
  • Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications you take including nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
  • Increases in blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including LIVALO.
  • Tell your doctor about your alcohol use.
  • Tell your healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy.

What are the most common side effects of LIVALO?

The most common side effects of LIVALO in clinical studies were:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Pain in the legs or arms
  • Diarrhea

This is not a complete list of side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I store and take LIVALO?

  • Store LIVALO tablets at room temperature, in a dry place, protected from light, and keep out of the reach of children.
  • Take LIVALO orally once daily with or without food at the same time each day.
  • Swallow the tablet whole. Do not split, crush, dissolve, or chew.
  • The maximum recommended dosage is LIVALO 4 mg once daily.
  • If you take too much LIVALO or you or someone else takes an overdose, call your doctor and/or local Poison Control Center.

Other important information I should know about LIVALO.

  • LIVALO is available by prescription only.

For additional information please see the full Prescribing Information or visit www.LivaloRx.com.

© Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (2021) - LIV-RA-0142 PI of 09/2020