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lovastatin and niacin (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lovastatin and niacin (Advicor)?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to niacin (Niaspan, Niacor, and others) or lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or if you have liver disease, severe bleeding, or a stomach ulcer.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests:

  • history of liver or kidney disease;
  • diabetes;
  • gout;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • heart disease, or if you have recently had a heart attack;
  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily; or
  • if you are switched to this medication from regular niacin, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide (or vitamin supplements that contain niacin).

In rare cases, lovastatin and niacin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use. Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them:

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take lovastatin and niacin if you are pregnant.Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking lovastatin and niacin.

Lovastatin and niacin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking lovastatin and niacin.

How should I take lovastatin and niacin (Advicor)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Lovastatin and niacin is usually taken at bedtime with a low-fat snack. Do not take lovastatin and niacin on an empty stomach.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Niacin can cause dizziness, sweating, chills, redness or tingly feeling, fast or pounding heartbeats, shortness of breath, or feeling like you might pass out. These side effects can be made worse if you drink alcohol or hot beverages shortly after you take lovastatin and niacin. These effects should disappear over time as you keep taking the medicine.

Your doctor may recommend you take aspirin 30 minutes before you take lovastatin and niacin to prevent certain side effects. Do not take aspirin without your doctor's advice about how much aspirin to take.

You may need to stop using lovastatin and niacin for a short time if you have surgery or a medical emergency. If you stop taking the medicine for longer than 7 days in a row, talk with your doctor before restarting the medication.

To be sure this medicine is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

Niacin can raise your blood sugar, and may cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using lovastatin and niacin.

Lovastatin and niacin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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