What is Advicor?

Advicor is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with high cholesterol. Advicor is a combination of two medicines, niacin and lovastatin.

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. Lovastatin is also known as Mevacor®.

Advicor may help lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), raise your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), and triglycerides (fat in the blood).

Advicor may help prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and certain types of heart surgery.

Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver function before you start and while you take Advicor.

You should not take Advicor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver problems.

Health Benefits

Advicor has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by up to 37 percent, raise HDL cholesterol by up to 8 percent, and lower triglycerides by up to 25 percent. These effects have been seen in people with different starting levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

In one study, people who took Advicor for two years had a 27 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease than people who took a placebo (a sugar pill with no active ingredient).

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Advicor are:

flushing (feeling of warmth)

itching

rash

headache

dizziness

stomach pain

nausea

diarrhea

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

Interactions

Advicor can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with Advicor are listed below.

Alcohol

phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®)

rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rimactane®)

This is not a complete list of Advicor drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Dosage

Advicor is available as an extended-release tablet. It’s typically taken once daily with or without food.

When Advicor is used to treat high cholesterol, the usual starting dose is one 2,000 mg tablet once daily. Your doctor may adjust your dose based on your response to treatment and cholesterol levels. The maximum recommended dose is 4,000 mg per day.

If you miss a dose of Advicor, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Advicor at the same time.

Mechanism of Action

The exact way that Advicor works is not known. It’s thought to work by:

inhibiting an enzyme in the liver that’s needed for cholesterol production

increasing the number of LDL receptors on the surface of liver cells, which helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood

reducing the amount of triglycerides produced by the liver

Increasing HDL cholesterol levels

Niacin is a type of B vitamin. It’s thought to work by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver that’s needed for cholesterol production. Lovastatin is a type of statin. Statins work by reducing the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and increasing the number of LDL receptors on the surface of liver cells, which helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.

Lovastatin can also reduce the amount of triglycerides produced by the liver. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood.

The combination of niacin and lovastatin may work better than either medication alone to lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, and lower triglycerides.

Pharmacokinetics

Advicor is an extended-release formulation of niacin and lovastatin. Niacin is released immediately, and lovastatin is released slowly over time.

Niacin is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is widely distributed in the body. It’s metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine.

Lovastatin is slowly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver. It’s excreted in the feces.

The half-life of niacin is 30 to 60 minutes, and the half-life of lovastatin is 1 to 2 hours.