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Advicor Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 1/29/2016

Advicor (niacin extended-release and lovastatin) is a combination of vitamin B3 and a cholesterol-lowering medication used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) in the blood. Lowering cholesterol and triglycerides can help prevent heart disease and coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), conditions that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and vascular disease. Advicor is also used to lower the risk of heart attack in people with high cholesterol who have already had a heart attack. Common side effects of Advicor include flushing (warmth, redness, itching, and tingling of the skin, especially of the face and neck), sweating, headache, dizziness, or chills within 2 to 4 hours after taking this medication. Flushing may persist for a few hours. These side effects should improve or go away after several weeks as your body adjusts to Advicor. Other side effects of Advicor include stomach pain or upset, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, back pain, or cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat.

Starting dose of Advicor is a single 500 mg/20 mg tablet once daily at bedtime. Maximum dose is 2000 mg/40 mg daily. Advicor may interact with cyclosporine, danazol, gemfibrozil, fenofibrate, blood thinner, niacin, nicotinic acid, or nicotinamide (or vitamin supplements that contain niacin), other cholesterol-lowering drugs, antibiotics, or HIV /AIDS medicine. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Advicor must not be used during pregnancy. Lovastatin may harm an unborn baby. Consult your doctor to discuss using at least 2 forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) while taking this medication. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended.

Our Advicor (niacin extended-release and lovastatin) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Advicor in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor at once if you a serious side effect such as:

  • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;
  • confusion, memory problems;
  • fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;
  • chest pain, extreme dizziness, feeling like you might pass out;
  • swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss); or
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache, mild dizziness;
  • diarrhea, mild nausea, stomach pain or indigestion;
  • mild skin rash;
  • back pain;
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling); or
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Advicor (Niacin XR and Lovastatin)

What is Patient Information Overview?

A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.

Advicor Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects

SIDE EFFECTS: Flushing (warmth/redness/itching/tingling of the skin, especially of the face/neck), sweating, headache, dizziness, or chills may occur within 2 to 4 hours after taking this medication. Flushing may persist for a few hours. These effects should improve or go away after several weeks as your body adjusts to the medication. Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A very small number of people taking lovastatin may have mild memory problems or confusion. If these rare effects occur, talk to your doctor.

Rarely, statins may cause or worsen diabetes. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: toe/joint pain, fainting, swelling ankles/feet/hands, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, easy bruising/bleeding, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

This drug may infrequently cause muscle problems (which can rarely lead to very serious conditions called rhabdomyolysis and autoimmune myopathy). Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms during treatment and if these symptoms persist after your doctor stops this drug: muscle pain/tenderness/weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness), change in the amount of urine.

This medication may rarely cause liver problems. If you notice any of the following rare but serious side effects, tell your doctor immediately: yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the entire patient information overview for Advicor (Niacin XR and Lovastatin)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Advicor FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)



In controlled clinical studies, 40/214 (19%) of patients randomized to ADVICOR discontinued therapy prior to study completion. Of the 214 patients enrolled 18 (8%) discontinued due to flushing. In the same controlled studies, 9/94 (10%) of patients randomized to lovastatin and 19/92 (21%) of patients randomized to NIASPAN also discontinued treatment prior to study completion secondary to adverse events. Flushing episodes (i.e., warmth, redness, itching and/or tingling) were the most common treatment-emergent adverse events, and occurred in 53% to 83% of patients treated with ADVICOR. Spontaneous reports with NIASPAN and clinical studies with ADVICOR suggest that flushing may also be accompanied by symptoms of dizziness or syncope, tachycardia, palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, burning sensation/skin burning sensation, chills, and/or edema.

Adverse Reactions Information

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice. The adverse reaction information from clinical studies does, however provide a basis for identifying the adverse events that appear to be related to drug use and for approximating rates.

The data described in this section reflect the exposure to ADVICOR in two double-blind, controlled clinical studies of 400 patients. The population was 28 to 86 years-of-age, 54% male, 85% Caucasian, 9% Black, and 7% Other, and had mixed dyslipidemia.

In addition to flushing, other adverse events occurring in 5% or greater of patients treated with ADVICOR are shown in Table 10 below.

Table 10: Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events in ≥ 5% of Patients (Events Irrespective of Causality; Data from Controlled, Double-Blind Studies)

Adverse Event ADVICOR NIASPAN Lovastatin
Total Number of Patients 214 92 94
Cardiovascular 163 (76%) 66 (72%) 24 (26%)
Flushing 152 (71%) 60 (65%) 17 (18%)
Body as a Whole 104 (49%) 50 (54%) 42 (45%)
Asthenia 10 ( 5%) 6 ( 7%) 5 ( 5%)
Flu Syndrome 12 ( 6%) 7 ( 8%) 4 ( 4%)
Headache 20 ( 9%) 12 (13%) 5 ( 5%)
Infection 43 (20%) 14 (15%) 19 (20%)
Pain 18 ( 8%) 3 ( 3%) 9 (10%)
Pain, Abdominal 9 ( 4%) 1 ( 1%) 6 ( 6%)
Pain, Back 10 ( 5%) 5 ( 5%) 5 ( 5%)
Digestive System 51 (24%) 26 (28%) 16 (17%)
Diarrhea 13 ( 6%) 8 ( 9%) 2 ( 2%)
Dyspepsia 6 ( 3%) 5 ( 5%) 4 ( 4%)
Nausea 14 ( 7%) 11 (12%) 2 ( 2%)
Vomiting 7 ( 3%) 5 ( 5%) 0
Metabolic and Nutrit. System 37 (17%) 18 (20%) 13 (14%)
Hyperglycemia 8 ( 4%) 6 ( 7%) 6 ( 6%)
Musculoskeletal System 19 ( 9%) 9 (10%) 17 (18%)
Myalgia 6 ( 3%) 5 ( 5%) 8 ( 9%)
Skin and Appendages 38 (18%) 19 (21%) 11 (12%)
Pruritus 14 ( 7%) 7 ( 8%) 3 ( 3%)
Rash 11 ( 5%) 11 (12%) 3 ( 3%)

Note: Percentages are calculated from the total number of patients in each column.

See also the full prescribing information for niacin extended release (Niaspan) and lovastatin products.

The following adverse events have also been reported with niacin, lovastatin, and/or other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, but not necessarily with ADVICOR, either during clinical studies or in routine patient management.

Body as a Whole: chest pain; abdominal pain; edema; chills; malaise
Cardiovascular: atrial fibrillation; tachycardia; palpitations, and other cardiac arrhythmias; postural hypotension, orthostasis; hypotension; syncope
Eye: toxic amblyopia; cystoid macular edema; ophthalmoplegia; eye irritation, blurred vision, progression of cataracts
Gastrointestinal: activation of peptic ulcers and peptic ulceration; dyspepsia; vomiting; anorexia; constipation; flatulence, pancreatitis; hepatitis; fatty change in liver; jaundice; and rarely, cirrhosis, fulminant hepatic necrosis, and hepatoma, eructation, fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure
Metabolic: gout, decreased glucose tolerance
Musculoskeletal: muscle cramps; myopathy; rhabdomyolysis; arthralgia, myalgia
Nervous: dizziness; insomnia; dry mouth; paresthesia; anxiety; tremor; vertigo; peripheral neuropathy; psychic disturbances; dysfunction of certain cranial nerves, nervousness, burning sensation/skin burning sensation, peripheral nerve palsy
Psychiatric depression
Skin: hyper-pigmentation; acanthosis nigricans; urticaria; alopecia; dry

There have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. The reports are generally nonserious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).

Clinical Laboratory Abnormalities


Elevations in serum transaminases (see WARNINGS - Liver Dysfunction), CPK and fasting glucose, and reductions in phosphorus. Niacin extended-release tablets have been associated with slight elevations in LDH, uric acid, total bilirubin, amylase and creatine kinase. Lovastatin and/or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors have been associated with elevations in alkaline phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and bilirubin, and thyroid function abnormalities.


Niacin extended-release tablets have been associated with slight reductions in platelet counts and prolongation in PT (see WARNINGS).

Drug Abuse And Dependence

Neither niacin nor lovastatin is a narcotic drug. ADVICOR has no known addiction potential in humans.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Advicor (Niacin XR and Lovastatin)

Advicor - User Reviews

Advicor User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Advicor sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

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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