Advicor® is the brand name of lovastatin/niacin and is a combination of two medications. One of them may be familiar to most people. Niacin is also called vitamin B3 and has been proven useful as cholesterol lowering agent. Lovastatin is one of the “statins” or cholesterol lowering drugs evolved in the 1970s and approved for use in the US since the late 1980s. This medication is generally prescribed to help lower cholesterol, though most people now get generic forms of the drug, which are less expensive.
In simple explanation, this medication helps to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting the work of an enzyme in the body that is called HMG CoA reductase. The presence of HMG CoA reductase helps to contribute to the body’s production of cholesterol, essentially spurring it on. When this enzyme is not working the body produces lower amounts of cholesterol. At the same time Advicor® performs a second function involving the liver. It makes it possible for the liver to better process low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often known as “bad cholesterol.” This dual function can prove successful for many people in creating a lower cholesterol environment in the body.
Several health conditions might lead a doctor to suggest use of Advicor® to patients. High cholesterol levels that don’t respond to diet and exercise might be effectively treated with this drug. High cholesterol present with conditions like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure or other increased risks for heart attack or stroke might also be indications that a cholesterol-lowering drug is advisable.
All medications are not suited to everyone. Those who are pregnant should never use Advicor® because demonstrable damage to fetuses has been established in testing, and women in their reproductive years are further advised to use a very reliable birth control method while taking this medication. Others who may not be able to safely take Advicor® include those with bleeding conditions, ulcers or liver disease. If people routinely drink a lot, they should discuss this with a physician prior to taking this medication.
The side effects of this drug are highly individualized and many people tolerate the medication very well. Others may experience a higher level of side effects that can include flushing and warm sensations especially in the face. There is a high incidence of this side effect and it may affect seven in ten users of the medication. Some people develop infections, or note things like nausea, back pain, more generalized pain and headaches. Side effects aren’t always permanent and may decrease over time.
There is one rare but extremely dangerous side effect of Advicor®. It may cause rhabdomyolysis, which results in the quick deterioration of muscle tissue. People are warned when they take this medication to report symptoms of muscle weakness to their doctors right away.
Like most drugs, Advicor® has drug interactions with other medications. People should make sure to report all current drugs they are taking when a doctor prescribes them any new medicine. Such reporting should include use of any over the counter medicines, supplements, or herbal preparations. Similarly, patients should plan to report all known medical conditions so doctors make the most informed choice when prescribing a cholesterol lowering medicine.