Advicor is a combination of niacin extended-release and lovastatin. Lovastatin is part of a class of drugs called statins. It works by blocking a particular enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol. It also increases the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol.
Niacin, or nicotinic acid, is also used as a cholesterol-lowering medicine. How niacin works is not completely understood. It probably works in several ways to improve cholesterol levels. Niacin is believed to increase HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) levels by preventing the liver from removing HDL from the bloodstream. In addition, niacin seems to decrease the liver's production of LDL and VLDL, two types of "bad" cholesterol. It also helps decrease the release of fatty acids (from body fat) into the bloodstream.
Because of the effects of lovastatin and niacin, Advicor decreases the following forms of cholesterol and fats:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
It also increases HDL cholesterol.
The main goal of any treatment plan for high cholesterol is to lower your LDL cholesterol enough to reduce your risk of developing related problems (see Effects of High Cholesterol). The higher your risk, the lower your LDL goal will be.
(Click High Cholesterol Risk to see a list of risk factors that may affect your cholesterol level and a general guideline of ideal LDL cholesterol levels.)
Any cholesterol treatment begins with lifestyle changes (weight loss, low-cholesterol diet, and exercise). If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in lowering cholesterol to a good level, medication such as Advicor may be necessary.