To gain a better understanding of the metabolic stability and transport of pitavastatin (CAS 147526-32-7), a new and potent 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor, experiments were conducted using human hepatocytes and oocytes of Xenopus laevis expressing human organic anion transporting polypeptide-2 (OATP2), respectively. Almost the entire radioactivity was from the unchanged substance or lactone form in human hepatocytes, and the cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated metabolism of pitavastatin was negligible. The results suggested that CYPs are not critically involved in determining the metabolic fate of pitavastatin. The hepatic uptake of pitavastatin reached saturation with a Km of 2.99 +/- 0.79 micromol/L. Also, the uptake of pitavastatin was mediated by OATP2 expressed in oocytes with a Km of 5.53 +/- 1.70 micromol/L. These results indicated that OATP2 plays a major role in the distribution of pitavastatin in liver. Furthermore, to elucidate the increase in the plasma concentration of pitavastatin in a clinical setting, the inhibitory effect of ciclosporin (cyclosporin A, CAS 59865-13-3) on the uptake of pitavastatin was examined. The uptake of pitavastatin was inhibited in the presence of cyclosporin A and the apparent IC50 value was 2.91 +/- 0.78 micromol/L. This result may at least partly explain the drug-drug interaction between pitavastatin and cyclosporin A. In conclusion, the characterization of transporters needs to be taken into account to avoid transporter-mediated drug-drug interaction.