Advicor Precautions and Warnings
Some precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking Advicor include the following:
- Advicor can potentially interact with a number of other medications (see Advicor Drug Interactions).
- There have been reports of liver problems, including liver failure, in people who were switched from immediate-release niacin to extended-release niacin products (such as the niacin contained in Advicor) at equivalent doses. Therefore, you will need to start Advicor at the lowest recommended dosage if you are switching over from any niacin product other than Niaspan® (niacin extended-release).
- If you drink large amounts of alcohol or drink alcohol frequently, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to starting Advicor. This medication may not be safe for you.
- Statins (such as lovastatin, one of the components of Advicor) have been known to cause an increase in liver enzymes. The medication has also been rarely reported to cause liver failure. In some cases, the liver failure caused death. Therefore, you should have a blood test that looks at your liver function before starting Advicor and as necessary thereafter. These tests may also be recommended if the Advicor dosage is changed (see Advicor and Liver Problems).
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any symptoms of liver problems, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Right upper stomach pain
- Dark urine
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice).
- Advicor and other statin medications have been reported to cause serious muscle problems, including rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscles, which causes muscle fibers to be released into the bloodstream, potentially damaging the kidneys. Muscle problems can occur in anyone taking a statin medication; however, you are at greater risk if you:
- Have kidney damage
- Drink large amounts of grapefruit juice or use grapefruit products (see Grapefruit and Advicor).
Make sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, especially if it is with a fever or if you feel ill, as this could be a sign of muscle problems (see Advicor and Muscle Pain).
- People who are experiencing a condition that increases their risk for kidney failure from rhabdomyolysis should temporarily stop taking Advicor until the condition resolves. Such conditions include:
- If you have chest pain or any other form of coronary artery disease, check with your healthcare provide before taking Advicor. Serious side effects could occur, due to the niacin component of the drug.
- Advicor can increase blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check with your healthcare provider before taking this medication. You may need to check your blood sugar levels more closely, especially in the first few months of Advicor treatment, or when your dosage is increased.
- This medication can increase the level of uric acid in the blood, which can worsen (and possibly even cause) gout.
- Because it contains niacin, Advicor can commonly cause flushing, which is a sudden redness, warmth, and tingling of the skin. Flushing can last for several hours, and may be more severe in some people than others. Advicor must be started at a low dose and increased gradually in order to reduce this intolerable side effect (see Advicor Dosage and Niacin Flush for more information).
- Taking aspirin up to 30 minutes before your Advicor dose can help reduce flushing. Taking the medication at bedtime can also help, as the flushing will most likely occur while you are sleeping. If the flushing wakes you up, be sure to get up slowly, to help minimize any feelings of dizziness or fainting, especially if you take blood pressure medications.
- This medication may increase the risk of bleeding, possibly due to decreased blood platelets.
- Advicor is a pregnancy Category X medicine, meaning that it could potentially cause harm to your unborn child. The safety of this drug in pregnant women has not been established. If you are pregnant and taking Advicor, talk to your healthcare provider immediately (see Advicor and Pregnancy).
- If you are nursing, it is not known whether Advicor passes through your milk. Ask your healthcare provider whether to stop nursing or stop taking the drug.