Advicor (Niacin/Lovastatin) and/or alternatives
No Generic Alternative.
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General Information On Advicor
Advicor is often prescribed to high cholesterol patients. The principal active ingredient in Advicor is lovastatin, which belongs to a group of drugs called statins that reduce the level of triglycerides and bad cholesterol in the blood. Niacin or vitamin B3 is also added as a nutritional supplement during Advicor treatment. People who buy Advicor often use it to reduce the level of LDLs or Low Density Lipoproteins in their blood. The drug comes in the form of extended release tablets, and is to be accompanied with a low cholesterol diet plan.
Side Effects for Advicor
People using Advicor have reported a number of possible side effects resulting from its use. More often than not, these side effects are trivial and should not be a cause for concern. The most commonly experienced side effects of Advicor are: feeling of weakness, and headaches. Apart from this, diarrhea, pain in the back, dizziness, nausea, or hot flushes may occur in people who take prolonged doses of this medication.
The more serious side effects of Advicor include severe muscle pain, weakness, and fatigue. Many people using Advicor have also reported symptoms such as fever, chest pains, severe nausea, loss of appetite, and irregularity in urination. If such conditions occur, you should immediately report them to your doctor for further assessment.
People who are allergic to Niacin and Niacin derivatives should avoid using Advicor at all times. Likewise, you must also avoid this drug if you are allergic to lovastatin. The drug is not recommended for people with stomach ulcers or liver disease. Advicor is also generally avoided in the case of pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Apart from the above situations or conditions, Advicor is generally considered safe. However, for people with a history of heart, liver, or kidney disease, gout, diabetes, or thyroid related problems, it is wise to consult a doctor to ascertain whether Advicor can be taken.
Advicor should only be taken according to the dosage prescribed by your doctor. Usually, the recommended dosage is Advicor 500mg/20mg once a day during bedtime, accompanied by a low fat snack. The dosage may vary according to the condition of Advicor patients and their past medical history, and can go up to 2000mg/40mg a day. Since Advicor comes in the form of extended release tablets, it is extremely important to take the daily dose strictly and to swallow it whole, not chew or break it. It is also important to avoid high fat foods that are rich in cholesterol while taking Advicor. Alcohol consumption should also be avoided.
For patients who buy Advicor, it is essential to know that a number of other drugs may have chemical interactions with Advicor. Patients taking medications for heart disease or blood pressure related issues should be particularly careful before taking Advicor, as it is known to interact with these drugs. Similarly, patients taking blood-thinning medications should consult their doctor before using Advicor. Other statins can also react with Advicor.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.