GENERIC NAME: niacin and lovastatin
BRAND NAME: Advicor
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Advicor is an oral drug that is used for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. It is a combination of extended-release niacin and lovastatin. It reduces blood levels of total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides and increases blood levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Niacin (nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) is a part of the normal diet that is essential for various chemical reactions in the body. Doses of niacin larger than normal dietary needs reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Niacin reduces bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and increases good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). It is not clear how niacin causes its effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but it may be by reducing the production of proteins that transport cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Lovastatin belongs to a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, or, more commonly, "statins." Other statins include simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), and rosuvastatin (Crestor). Statins reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver (HMG-CoA reductase) that is necessary for the production of cholesterol. In the blood, statins lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is believed to be an important cause of coronary artery disease. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels slows and may even reverse coronary artery disease. Statins also increase HDL cholesterol. Raising HDL cholesterol levels, like lowering LDL cholesterol may slow coronary artery disease.The combination of niacin and lovastatin is better than either drug alone in reducing cholesterol, reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL. The FDA approved Advicor in December 2001.
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