niacin and lovastatin, Advicor (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

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.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects are:

  • flushing,
  • redness,
  • warm sensation,
  • rash,
  • itching,
  • headache,
  • stomach upset,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • muscle pain, and
  • tingling in extremities.

Flushing may be reduced by taking 325 mg of aspirin 30 minutes before the niacin and by increasing the dose of niacin slowly.

Drinking hot liquids or alcohol shortly before or after niacin is taken may increase the occurrence of flushing.

Other important side effects include:

  • liver test abnormalities,
  • rhabdomyolisis,
  • kidney failure,
  • muscle pain,
  • weakness,
  • muscle tenderness,
  • increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose
  • memory loss,
  • forgetfulness,
  • amnesia,
  • confusion, and
  • memory impairment

Lovastatin shares side effects, such as liver and muscle damage associated with all statins. Serious liver damage caused by statins is rare. More often, statins cause abnormalities of liver tests. Abnormal tests usually return to normal even if a statin is continued, but if the abnormal test value is greater than three times the upper limit of normal, the statin usually is stopped. Liver function tests should be performed at the beginning of treatment then as needed thereafter.

Inflammation of the muscles caused by statins can lead to a serious breakdown of muscle cells called rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis causes the release of muscle protein (myoglobin) into the blood. Myoglobin can cause kidney failure and even death. When used alone, statins cause rhabdomyolysis in less than one percent of patients. To prevent the development of rhabdomyolysis, patients taking lovastatin should contact their health care professional immediately if they develop unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or muscle tenderness.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/22/2015


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