Compare Atorvastatin vs. Niaspan

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Lipitor
(Atorvastatin)

Niaspan
(Niacin)

Lowers cholesterol. Lipitor (Atorvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.Lowers cholesterol. niacin is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but it's not as good as statins for improving cholesterol.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.16020482809071Atorvastatin
Reviews for Lipitor (Atorvastatin)
63%
of people say Lipitor (Atorvastatin) is worth it
51%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Niaspan (Niacin)
43%
20% vs. Lipitor (Atorvastatin)
31%
20% vs. Lipitor (Atorvastatin)
19%
6% vs. Lipitor (Atorvastatin)
Side effects
AtorvastatinNiaspan
  • Diarrhea 8%
  • Common cold 5%
  • Muscle pain 5%
  • Joint pain 5%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Pain in extremity 3%
  • Urinary tract infection 2%
  • Sleep difficulty 2%
  • Muscle spasms 2%
  • Throat pain 2%
More Atorvastatin side effects »
  • Flushing 50%
  • Itching 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Niaspan side effects »
How it works
AtorvastatinNiaspan
Lipitor (Atorvastatin) is cholesterol-lowering medicine called a statin. It lowers the amount of cholesterol your body makes, which helps lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL).niacin is a cholesterol-lowering medicine. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to lower the amount of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) made by the liver. It may also help your body process cholesterol.
Type of medication
AtorvastatinNiaspan
Cholesterol-lowering
Statin
Prescription only
Cholesterol-lowering
Nicotinic acid
Prescription only
Available as
AtorvastatinNiaspan
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
AtorvastatinNiaspan
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtorvastatinNiaspan
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Prior history of chronic liver disease
    • Pregnancy
        Detailed Lipitor (Atorvastatin) risks & warnings »
        • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins
        • Heavy alcohol use
        • Past history of liver disease
        • Diabetes
        • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with anticoagulants
        Detailed Niaspan (Niacin) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        AtorvastatinNiaspan
        XFDA pregnancy category (Unsafe)

        Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        Alcohol
        • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
        • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
        • People who take Niaspan (Niacin) have reported liver damage, especially if taken with statins or if you drink large amounts of alcohol. This has been rare. Talk to your doctor if you've ever had liver disease as they may discuss alternatives, or they may monitor your liver with blood tests.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.
        • You have to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
        • Take it at bedtime with a low-fat snack.
        • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
        Kidneys and liver
        • Statins can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, and liver damage. Some people have to stop taking this medicine because of these problems.
        • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
        • People on Lipitor (Atorvastatin) have reported muscle pain which may lead to muscle and kidney damage. This has been very rare. Talk to your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain or weakness or fever and you don't know why.
        • People on Niaspan (Niacin) while taking statins have reported muscle pain which may lead to muscle and kidney damage. This has been very rare. Talk to your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain or weakness or fever and you don't know why.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        AtorvastatinNiaspan
        • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (fats) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
        • Can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, particularly if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or a history of smoking.
        • One of the strongest cholesterol-lowering statin medications.
        • A good option for people who have high cholesterol and diabetes.
        • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
        • Lowers the risk of a second heart attack.
        • Good for lowering triglycerides (fats).
        Downsides and risks
        AtorvastatinNiaspan
        • Statins can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, and liver damage. Some people have to stop taking this medicine because of these problems.
        • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
        • Eating a lot of grapefruit can raise your risk of liver damage.
        • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
        • By itself, niacin is not as effective as statins for improving cholesterol.
        • Can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
        • You have to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
        • If you don't take it regularly, you might have to re-start the medicine at a lower dose.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        AtorvastatinNiaspan
        • Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises good cholesterol.
        • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
        • Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, fever or weakness.
        • Tell your doctor if you notice dark urine or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
        • Take it at bedtime with a low-fat snack.
        • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
        • Can cause flushing.
        • Call your doctor if you develop muscle pain.
        • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
        Learn more
        More about AtorvastatinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about NiaspanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert