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Niacin and Lovastatin

Medically reviewed on August 12, 2018

Pronunciation

(NYE a sin & LOE va sta tin)

Index Terms

  • Lovastatin and Niacin
  • Niacin/Lovastatin

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

Tablet, variable release, oral:

Advicor 500/20: Niacin 500 mg [extended release] and lovastatin 20 mg [immediate release] [DSC]

Advicor 750/20: Niacin 750 mg [extended release] and lovastatin 20 mg [immediate release] [DSC]

Advicor 1000/20: Niacin 1000 mg [extended release] and lovastatin 20 mg [immediate release] [DSC]

Advicor 1000/40: Niacin 1000 mg [extended release] and lovastatin 40 mg [immediate release] [DSC]

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Advicor [DSC]

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antilipemic Agent, HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitor
  • Antilipemic Agent, Miscellaneous

Pharmacology

Lovastatin acts by competitively inhibiting 3-hydroxyl-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis. In addition to the ability of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors to decrease levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), they also possess pleiotropic properties including improved endothelial function, reduced inflammation at the site of the coronary plaque, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and anticoagulant effects (de Denus 2002; Ray 2005).

Niacin is a component of two coenzymes that is necessary for tissue respiration, lipid metabolism, and glycogenolysis; inhibits the synthesis of very-low-density lipoproteins.

Use: Labeled Indications

Primary hypercholesterolemia/mixed dyslipidemia/hypertriglyceridemia: Reduce total cholesterol (total-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (apo B), and triglycerides (TG), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (heterozygous familial and nonfamilial) and mixed dyslipidemia in combination with a standard cholesterol-lowering diet when response to an appropriate diet has been inadequate.

Note: Niacin is no longer considered a primary or secondary agent for dyslipidemias. Although niacin consistently affects surrogate markers, especially LDL-C, it has not been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease outcomes beyond that achieved with statin use and may be associated with harm (ACC 2016; Garg 2017; Wierzbicki 2014).

Guideline recommendations:

Lovastatin: Primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) to reduce the risk of ASCVD in select adult patients (ACC/AHA [Stone 2013]; ADA 2017a; NLA [Jacobson 2015]; USPSTF 2016). Refer to respective guideline for specific recommendations.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to lovastatin, niacin, or any component of the formulation; active liver disease; unexplained persistent elevations of serum transaminases; active peptic ulcer disease; arterial bleeding; pregnancy; breastfeeding; concomitant use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, nefazodone, posaconazole, voriconazole, protease inhibitors [including boceprevir and telaprevir], telithromycin, cobicistat-containing products).

Dosing: Adult

Primary hypercholesterolemia/mixed dyslipidemia/hypertriglyceridemia: Oral: Note: Niacin is no longer recommended, except in specific clinical situations (eg, high triglyceride levels [>500 mg/dL], if not able to achieve desired response, or intolerance to other therapies) (ACC 2016; Boden 2014; Garg 2017; Landray 2014; Wierzbicki 2014).

Initial dose: Note: Not for use as initial therapy of dyslipidemias. Doses should be individualized according to the baseline LDL-cholesterol levels, the recommended goal of therapy, and the patient's response. Niacin ER 500 mg/lovastatin 20 mg once daily at bedtime; increase dose every 4 weeks as needed in increments of not more than 500 mg of niacin (maximum: Niacin ER 2,000 mg/lovastatin 40 mg per day).

Maintenance dose: Niacin ER 1,000 to 2,000 mg/lovastatin 20 to 40 mg once daily (maximum: niacin ER 2,000 mg/lovastatin 40 mg per day).

Note: If therapy is interrupted for >7 days, reinstitution of therapy should begin with the lowest dose followed by retitration as needed. May be substituted for equivalent dose of Niaspan; however, manufacturer does not recommend direct substitution with other niacin products.

Dosage adjustment with concomitant medications:

Amiodarone: Maximum lovastatin dose: 40 mg/day

Danazol, diltiazem, dronedarone, or verapamil: Initial lovastatin dose: 10 mg once daily (dosage unavailable with combination product; use separate components); Maximum lovastatin dose: 20 mg/day

Lomitapide: Consider lovastatin dose reduction (per lomitapide manufacturer).

Ranolazine: Consider lovastatin dose reduction.

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Renal Impairment

CrCl ≥30 mL/minute: No dosage adjustment necessary.

CrCl <30 mL/minute: There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling; use doses of lovastatin >20 mg daily with caution.

Dosing: Hepatic Impairment

There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling; contraindicated in patients with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations of serum transaminases.

Dosing: Adjustment for Toxicity

Hepatic toxicity: Discontinue use if hepatic transaminase levels rise, particularly to 3 × ULN and are persistent, or if they are associated with symptoms of nausea, fever, and/or malaise.

Severe muscle symptoms or fatigue: Promptly discontinue use; evaluate CPK, creatinine, and urinalysis for myoglobinuria (AHA/ASA [Stone 2013]).

Mild to moderate muscle symptoms: Discontinue use until symptoms can be evaluated; evaluate patient for conditions that may increase the risk for muscle symptoms (eg, hypothyroidism, reduced renal or hepatic function, rheumatologic disorders such as polymyalgia rheumatica, steroid myopathy, vitamin D deficiency, or primary muscle diseases). Upon resolution, resume the original or lower dose of lovastatin. If muscle symptoms recur, discontinue lovastatin use. After muscle symptom resolution, may then use a low dose of a different statin; gradually increase if tolerated. In the absence of continued statin use, if muscle symptoms or elevated CPK continues after 2 months, consider other causes of muscle symptoms. If determined to be due to another condition aside from statin use, may resume statin therapy at the original dose (AHA/ASA [Stone 2013]).

Administration

Administer tablet whole; do not break, crush, or chew. Administer with a low-fat snack at bedtime. To attenuate flushing symptoms, may premedicate with aspirin 30 minutes before dose; avoid ingestion of alcohol or hot or spicy foods/liquids concurrently with niacin.

Dietary Considerations

Administer with a low-fat snack; avoid alcohol, hot drinks, and spicy foods around the time of administration. Red yeast rice contains variable amounts of several compounds that are structurally similar to HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, primarily monacolin K (or mevinolin) which is structurally identical to lovastatin; concurrent use of red yeast rice with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors may increase the incidence of adverse and toxic effects (Lapi 2008; Smith 2003).

Storage

Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

Drug Interactions

Acipimox: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Alcohol (Ethyl): May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Niacin. Consider therapy modification

Amiodarone: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Consider using a non-interacting statin (pravastatin) in patients on amiodarone. If combined, limit the lovastatin dose to 40 mg daily and monitor for evidence of lovastatin toxicities (eg, myalgia, liver function test elevations, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

AmLODIPine: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

Antidiabetic Agents: Hyperglycemia-Associated Agents may diminish the therapeutic effect of Antidiabetic Agents. Monitor therapy

Aprepitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Asunaprevir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Azithromycin (Systemic): May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

Bezafibrate: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Bezafibrate may increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). More specifically, bezafibrate may increase the serum concentration of fluvastatin Management: Monitor patients closely for myopathy with concomitant use of bezafibrate and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Concomitant use is contraindicated in patients predisposed to myopathy and alternative therapy should be considered. Consider therapy modification

Bile Acid Sequestrants: May decrease the absorption of Niacin. Consider therapy modification

Boceprevir: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Bosentan: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Ceritinib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Management: Use of ceritinib with a narrow therapeutic index CYP3A substrate (eg, alfentanil, cyclosporine, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, fentanyl, pimozide, quinidine, sirolimus, tacrolimus) should be avoided when possible. Monitor therapy

Ciprofibrate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Avoid the use of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and ciprofibrate if possible. If concomitant therapy is considered, benefits should be carefully weighed against the risks, and patients should be monitored closely for signs/symptoms of muscle toxicity. Consider therapy modification

Clarithromycin: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Colchicine: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Colchicine may increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Consider therapy modification

Conivaptan: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

CycloSPORINE (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

CYP3A4 Inducers (Moderate): May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

CYP3A4 Inducers (Strong): May increase the metabolism of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Consider an alternative for one of the interacting drugs. Some combinations may be specifically contraindicated. Consult appropriate manufacturer labeling. Consider therapy modification

CYP3A4 Inhibitors (Moderate): May decrease the metabolism of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

CYP3A4 Inhibitors (Strong): May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Cyproterone: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Avoid use of statins metabolized by CYP3A4 (eg, simvastatin) and consider avoiding fluvastatin as well in patients receiving high dose cyproterone (300 mg/day). Consider use of pravastatin, rosuvastatin, or pitavastatin if statin therapy is needed. Consider therapy modification

Dabigatran Etexilate: Lovastatin may enhance the anticoagulant effect of Dabigatran Etexilate. Management: Consider an alternative HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin) in patients taking dabigatran who require statin therapy. If used together, monitor patients closely for signs and symptoms of bleeding. Consider therapy modification

Dabrafenib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Seek alternatives to the CYP3A4 substrate when possible. If concomitant therapy cannot be avoided, monitor clinical effects of the substrate closely (particularly therapeutic effects). Consider therapy modification

Daclatasvir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Danazol: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Concurrent use of simvastatin with danazol is contraindicated. Do not exceed 20 mg per day of lovastatin if combined with danazol. Fluvastatin, pravastatin, and rosuvastatin may pose lower risk. Consider therapy modification

DAPTOmycin: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of DAPTOmycin. Specifically, the risk of skeletal muscle toxicity may be increased. Management: Consider temporarily stopping HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor therapy prior to daptomycin. If used together, regular (i.e., at least weekly) monitoring of CPK concentrations is recommended. Consider therapy modification

Deferasirox: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

DilTIAZem: Lovastatin may increase the serum concentration of DilTIAZem. DilTIAZem may increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Initiate lovastatin at a maximum adult dose of 10 mg/day, and do not exceed 20 mg/day, in patients receiving diltiazem. Monitor closely for signs of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor toxicity (e.g., myositis, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Dronedarone: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Limit lovastatin to a maximum of 20 mg/day (in adults). Increase monitoring for signs of lovastatin toxicity (e.g., myopathy, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Efavirenz: May decrease the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

Elbasvir: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

Enzalutamide: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Concurrent use of enzalutamide with CYP3A4 substrates that have a narrow therapeutic index should be avoided. Use of enzalutamide and any other CYP3A4 substrate should be performed with caution and close monitoring. Consider therapy modification

Erythromycin (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Etravirine: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). This applies to atorvastatin, lovastatin and simvastatin. Conversely, levels of fluvastatin may be increased. Management: Dose adjustment of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor may be warranted. No interaction is expected with rosuvastatin, pravastatin, or pitavastatin. Monitor therapy

Fenofibrate and Derivatives: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Fluconazole: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

Fosaprepitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Fosnetupitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Fosphenytoin: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Consider therapy modification

Fusidic Acid (Systemic): May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Specifically, the risk for muscle toxicities, including rhabdomyolysis may be significantly increased. Management: Avoid concurrent use whenever possible. Use is listed as contraindicated in product characteristic summaries in several countries, although UK labeling suggests that use could be considered under exceptional circumstances and with close supervision. Avoid combination

Fusidic Acid (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

Gemfibrozil: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Lovastatin. Gemfibrozil may increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. More specifically, gemfibrozil may increase the serum concentrations of lovastatin acid (active form of parent drug). Avoid combination

Glecaprevir and Pibrentasvir: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Grapefruit Juice: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Avoid concurrent use of GFJ with lovastatin or simvastatin. Avoid high quantities of GFJ with atorvastatin. Consider using a lower statin dose or a statin that is less likely to interact when possible. Consider therapy modification

Grazoprevir: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins): Niacin may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Idelalisib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

Ivosidenib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Lanthanum: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may decrease the serum concentration of Lanthanum. Management: Administer HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors at least two hours before or after lanthanum. Consider therapy modification

Letermovir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Lomitapide: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Consider reducing lovastatin doses during concomitant treatment with lomitapide, and monitor for signs and symptoms of muscle toxicity. Specific dosing recommendations are not presently available. Consider therapy modification

MiFEPRIStone: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Avoid lovastatin during and 2 weeks following mifepristone for treatment of hyperglycemia in Cushing's syndrome. The interaction magnitude could be lower with single doses used to terminate pregnancy, but neither effect has been studied clinically. Avoid combination

Mitotane: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Doses of CYP3A4 substrates may need to be adjusted substantially when used in patients being treated with mitotane. Consider therapy modification

Netupitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Niacin: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Niacinamide: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Palbociclib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

PAZOPanib: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may enhance the hepatotoxic effect of PAZOPanib. Specifically, the risk for increased serum transaminase concentrations may be increased. Management: Simvastatin is specifically implicated in the interaction. There is a lack of data regarding risk with other statins, but caution appears warranted with any statins. Atorvastatin should be avoided due to P-gp inhibition. Monitor therapy

P-glycoprotein/ABCB1 Inhibitors: May increase the serum concentration of P-glycoprotein/ABCB1 Substrates. P-glycoprotein inhibitors may also enhance the distribution of p-glycoprotein substrates to specific cells/tissues/organs where p-glycoprotein is present in large amounts (e.g., brain, T-lymphocytes, testes, etc.). Monitor therapy

Phenytoin: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Consider therapy modification

Pitolisant: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Combined use of pitolisant with a CYP3A4 substrate that has a narrow therapeutic index should be avoided. Other CYP3A4 substrates should be monitored more closely when used with pitolisant. Consider therapy modification

Protease Inhibitors: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

QuiNINE: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Consider using a lower starting dose and lower maintenance/maximum doses of atorvastatin, simvastatin, or lovastatin when used together with quinine. Consider therapy modification

Raltegravir: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Ranolazine: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Lovastatin. Ranolazine may increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Ranolazine may also enhance the distribution of lovastatin to specific cells/tissues/organs where P-glycoprotein is present in large amounts (eg, brain, T-lymphocytes, testes, etc.). Monitor therapy

Red Yeast Rice: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Avoid combination

Repaglinide: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may increase the serum concentration of Repaglinide. Monitor therapy

Rifamycin Derivatives: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Consider use of noninteracting antilipemic agents (note: pitavastatin concentrations may increase with rifamycin treatment). Monitor for altered HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor effects. Rifabutin and fluvastatin, or possibly pravastatin, may pose lower risk. Consider therapy modification

Rosuvastatin: Niacin may enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Rosuvastatin. Monitor therapy

Rupatadine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Specifically, the risk for increased CPK and/or other muscle toxicities may be increased. Monitor therapy

Sarilumab: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Siltuximab: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Simeprevir: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Monitor therapy

Simvastatin: Niacin may enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Simvastatin. Niacin may increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Use of simvastatin 80 mg with niacin should be avoided and simvastatin doses over 20 mg/day should be used cautiously in Chinese patients; some non-US labeling state this combination is not recommended in any Asian patients. Consider therapy modification

St John's Wort: May increase the metabolism of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Consider avoiding the concomitant administration of St Johns Wort with interacting HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in order to avoid the potential for decreased antilipemic effects. Monitor for decreased effects during concomitant therapy. Consider therapy modification

St John's Wort: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Consider an alternative for one of the interacting drugs. Some combinations may be specifically contraindicated. Consult appropriate manufacturer labeling. Consider therapy modification

Stiripentol: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Management: Use of stiripentol with CYP3A4 substrates that are considered to have a narrow therapeutic index should be avoided due to the increased risk for adverse effects and toxicity. Any CYP3A4 substrate used with stiripentol requires closer monitoring. Consider therapy modification

Telaprevir: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Telithromycin: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Avoid combination

Ticagrelor: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Avoid using doses of lovastatin greater than 40 mg/day with ticagrelor. This specific recommendation is found in the U.S. prescribing information but not in the Canadian product monograph. Consider therapy modification

Tocilizumab: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Trabectedin: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Trabectedin. Monitor therapy

Verapamil: May increase the serum concentration of Lovastatin. Management: Initiate lovastatin at a maximum adult dose of 10 mg/day, and do not exceed 20 mg/day, in patients receiving verapamil. Monitor closely for signs of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor toxicity (e.g., myositis, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Vitamin K Antagonists (eg, warfarin): HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may enhance the anticoagulant effect of Vitamin K Antagonists. Monitor therapy

Voxilaprevir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Use the lowest statin dose possible if combined with voxilaprevir and monitor patients for increased statin effects/toxicities. Avoid concomitant use of voxilaprevir with rosuvastatin or pitavastatin, and limit pravastatin doses to 40 mg daily. Consider therapy modification

Test Interactions

See individual agents.

Adverse Reactions

Also see individual agents. Frequency not always defined.

>10%:

Cardiovascular: Flushing (53% to 83%)

Infection: Infection (20%)

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Headache (9%), pain (8%)

Dermatologic: Pruritus (7%), skin rash (5%)

Endocrine & metabolic: Hyperglycemia (4%), hypophosphatemia

Gastrointestinal: Nausea (7%), diarrhea (6%), abdominal pain (4%), dyspepsia (3%), vomiting (3%)

Hematologic & oncologic: Increased prothrombin time (2%)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Back pain (5%), weakness (5%), myalgia (3%)

Respiratory: Flu-like symptoms (6%)

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Burning sensation, chills, decreased platelet count, diaphoresis, dizziness, dyspnea, edema, increased serum ALT, increased serum AST, myopathy, palpitations, rhabdomyolysis, syncope, tachycardia

Warnings/Precautions

Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Flushing/pruritus: Flushing and pruritus are common adverse effects of niacin; may be attenuated with a gradual increase in dose, administering with food, avoidance of concurrent ingestion of ethanol, hot or spicy foods/liquids, and/or by taking aspirin 30 minutes before dosing. Flushing associated with extended-release preparation is significantly reduced (Guyton 2007). Consider discontinuation if severe cutaneous symptoms occur during therapy.

• GI effects: May cause GI distress, vomiting, diarrhea, or aggravate peptic ulcer; GI distress may be attenuated with a gradual increase in dose and administration with food. Use is contraindicated in patients with active peptic ulcer disease; use with caution in patients with a past history of peptic ulcer. Consider discontinuation if unexplained abdominal pain or other GI symptoms or unexplained weight loss occurs during therapy.

• Hematologic effects: Dose-related reductions in platelet count and increases of prothrombin time may occur.

• Hepatotoxicity: Cases of severe hepatotoxicity, including fulminant hepatic necrosis, have occurred when immediate-release (crystalline) niacin products have been substituted with sustained-release (modified-release, timed-release) niacin products at equivalent doses. Fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure has been reported with lovastatin (rare). Patients should be initiated with low doses with titration to achieve desired response. Liver function tests should be monitored at baseline and as clinically indicated. If serious hepatotoxicity with clinical symptoms and/or hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice occurs during treatment, interrupt therapy promptly. If an alternate etiology is not identified, do not restart. Discontinue use if hepatic transaminase levels rise, particularly to 3 × ULN and are persistent, or if they are associated with symptoms of nausea, fever, and/or malaise.

• Hypophosphatemia: Niacin has been associated with small but statistically significant dose-related reductions in phosphorus levels. Monitor phosphorus levels periodically in patients at risk for hypophosphatemia.

• Myopathy/rhabdomyolysis: Rhabdomyolysis with or without acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria and/or myopathy has been reported; patients should be monitored closely. This risk is dose-related and is increased with high doses of lovastatin (80 mg) or niacin (doses ≥1 g/day). Concomitant use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, nefazodone, posaconazole, voriconazole, protease inhibitors [including boceprevir and telaprevir], telithromycin, cobicistat-containing products), cyclosporine, danazol, and gemfibrozil is contraindicated due to increased risk of myopathy. Use with caution in patients with uncontrolled hypothyroidism, patients taking other drugs associated with myopathy (eg, colchicine), patients ≥65 years of age, and women; these patients are predisposed to myopathy. Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) associated with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors use has also been reported. Patients should be instructed to report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness, or brown urine, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever. Discontinue therapy if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed/suspected.

Disease-related concerns:

• Cardiovascular disease: Use niacin with caution in patients with unstable angina or MI. In patients with preexisting coronary artery disease, the incidence of atrial fibrillation was observed more frequently in those receiving immediate-release (crystalline) niacin as compared to placebo (Coronary Drug Project Research Group 1975). Consider discontinuation if new-onset atrial fibrillation occurs during therapy.

• Diabetes: Niacin is associated with new-onset diabetes or worsening glucose tolerance in patients with preexisting diabetes (Garg 2017; Goldie 2016). Increases in HbA1c and fasting blood glucose have been reported with lovastatin. Use with caution in patients with diabetes. Monitor glucose; adjustment of diet and/or hypoglycemic therapy may be necessary. Consider discontinuation if persistent hyperglycemia occurs during therapy.

• Gout: Niacin may be associated with hyperuricemia; use with caution in patients with gout. Consider discontinuation if acute gout occurs during therapy.

• Hepatic impairment: Use with caution in patients who have a history of hepatic impairment. Contraindicated in patients with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations of serum transaminases.

• Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment; risk of myopathy is increased.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Drug-drug interactions: Potentially significant interactions may exist, requiring dose or frequency adjustment, additional monitoring, and/or selection of alternative therapy. Consult drug interactions database for more detailed information.

Special populations:

• Elderly: Use with caution in patients ≥65 years of age; these patients are predisposed to myopathy.

• Surgical patients: The manufacturer recommends temporary discontinuation for elective major surgery, acute medical or surgical conditions, or in any patient experiencing an acute or serious condition predisposing to renal failure (eg, sepsis, hypotension, trauma, uncontrolled seizures). Based on current research and clinical guidelines, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors should be continued in the perioperative period. Postoperative discontinuation of statin therapy is associated with an increased risk of cardiac morbidity and mortality (ACC/AHA [Fleisher 2014]).

Dosage form specific issues:

• Product interchangeability: Bioavailability of niacin formulations vary (immediate-release versus extended-release) and are not interchangeable; cases of severe hepatotoxicity, including fulminant hepatic necrosis, have occurred in patients who have substituted niacin products at equivalent doses. Tablet strengths of niacin/lovastatin are not interchangeable; bioavailability varies.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Alcohol use: Use with caution in patients who consume large amounts of ethanol due to the increased risk of liver dysfunction.

Monitoring Parameters

2013 ACC/AHA Blood Cholesterol Guideline recommendations (Stone 2013):

Lipid panel (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides): Baseline lipid panel; fasting lipid profile within 4 to 12 weeks after initiation or dose adjustment and every 3 to 12 months (as clinically indicated) thereafter. If 2 consecutive LDL levels are <40 mg/dL, consider decreasing the dose.

Hepatic transaminase levels: Baseline measurement of hepatic transaminase levels (ie, ALT); measure hepatic function if symptoms suggest hepatotoxicity (eg, unusual fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine or yellowing of skin or sclera) during therapy.

CPK: CPK should not be routinely measured. Baseline CPK measurement is reasonable for some individuals (eg, family history of statin intolerance or muscle disease, clinical presentation, concomitant drug therapy that may increase risk of myopathy). May measure CPK in any patient with symptoms suggestive of myopathy (pain, tenderness, stiffness, cramping, weakness, or generalized fatigue).

Evaluate for new-onset diabetes mellitus during therapy; if diabetes develops, continue therapy and encourage adherence to a heart-healthy diet, physical activity, a healthy body weight, and tobacco cessation.

If patient develops a confusional state or memory impairment, may evaluate patient for nonstatin causes (eg, exposure to other drugs), systemic and neuropsychiatric causes, and the possibility of adverse effects associated with statin therapy.

Manufacturer's labeling: Platelets/PT (if on anticoagulants); phosphorus (if predisposed to hypophosphatemia).

Pregnancy Risk Factor

X

Pregnancy Considerations

Use is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant.

Studies in pregnant women have shown evidence of fetal abnormalities. See individual agents.

Patient Education

• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?

• Patient may experience flushing, headache, nausea, itching, or diarrhea. Have patient report immediately to prescriber signs of high blood sugar (confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, hunger, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit), signs of liver problems (dark urine, feeling tired, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, light-colored stools, vomiting, or yellow skin or eyes), burning or numbness feeling, severe dizziness, passing out, angina, shortness of breath, sweating a lot, urinary retention, change in amount of urine passed, severe muscle pain, or severe muscle weakness (HCAHPS).

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for healthcare professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience and judgment in diagnosing, treating and advising patients.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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