niacin and lovastatin, Advicor

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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.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

PREPARATIONS: Tablets (niacin/lovastatin): 500/20, 750/20, 1000/20, 1000/40 mg

STORAGE: Advicor should be stored at room temperature, between 20-25 C (68-77 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Advicor is used for treating elevated blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, and for raising low levels of HDL cholesterol.

DOSING: The recommended starting dose for Advicor is one tablet (500/20 mg). Doses can be increased by 500 mg of niacin every 4 weeks based on the response of the blood cholesterol level. Doses greater than 2000/40 mg are not recommended. Individuals already stabilized on niacin extended-release tablets can be directly switched to the niacin equivalent dose of Advicor. Individuals taking extended-release niacin and lovastatin separately can be switched to an equivalent dose of Advicor.

Other forms of niacin (for example, sustained-release, timed-release or immediate-release) are not equivalent to extended-release niacin in Advicor. Therefore, Advicor is not interchangeable with these niacin preparations, and patients taking these preparations should be switched and stabilized on extended-release niacin before switching to Advicor.

Advicor should be administered at bedtime with a low fat snack. Since there is evidence that at least some drugs in the same class as lovastatin lower cholesterol more when taken at night than in the morning. If Advicor is discontinued for longer than 7 days, therapy should be resumed at the lowest dose.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Decreased elimination of lovastatin could increase the levels of lovastatin in the body and increase the risk of muscle toxicity from lovastatin. Examples of drugs that decrease elimination of lovastatin include erythromycin (E-Mycin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), clarithromycin (Biaxin), telithromycin (Ketek), cyclosporine (Sandimmune), nefazodone (Serzone), boceprevir (Victrelis), telaprevir (incivek), voriconazole (Vfend), and protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan) and ritonavir (Norvir). They should not be combined with lovastatin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/23/2012



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