Compare Niaspan vs. Atorvastatin

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

Niaspan
(niacin)

Lipitor
(atorvastatin)

Lowers cholesterol. Niaspan (Niacin) lowers triglycerides, but isn't as good as statins for improving cholesterol levels.Lowers cholesterol. Lipitor (atorvastatin) improves your cholesterol levels and is a common first treatment for people with high cholesterol or heart disease.
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Prices and coupon for 30 (500mg) tablets of niacin
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Prices and coupon for 30 (20mg) tablets of atorvastatin
Reviews & ratings
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Filter group. All currently selected
4.23Niaspan
Reviews for Niaspan (niacin)
43%
of people (All ages) say Niaspan (niacin) is worth it
31%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
380 reviews
Have you used Niaspan (niacin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Lipitor (atorvastatin)
63%
+20% better vs. Niaspan (niacin)
51%
+20% better vs. Niaspan (niacin)
13%
+6% better vs. Niaspan (niacin)
1377 reviews
Have you used Lipitor (atorvastatin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
NiaspanAtorvastatin
  • Flushing 49%
  • Itching 6%
  • Rash 5%
More Niaspan side effects »
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Indigestion 1%
  • Muscle spasms 1%
  • Muscle pain 1%
More Atorvastatin side effects »
How it works
NiaspanAtorvastatin
Niaspan (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.Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a 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).
Type of medication
NiaspanAtorvastatin
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
NiaspanAtorvastatin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for
NiaspanAtorvastatin
Risk factors for serious side effects
NiaspanAtorvastatin
  • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Past history of liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with anticoagulants
  • Gout
Detailed Niaspan (niacin) risks & warnings »
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Prior history of chronic liver disease
    • Pregnancy
    • History of hemorrhagic strokes
      Detailed Lipitor (atorvastatin) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy

      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.

      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.

      Interactions
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • Niaspan (Niacin) can interact with blood thinners and make you more likely to bleed. Your doctor may have you do regular blood tests and change your medication doses.
      No interactions related info.
      Alcohol
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
      • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are a female, are 65 years or older, or drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
      Food
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • You need to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
      • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
      • Niaspan (Niacin) can interact with blood thinners and make you more likely to bleed. Your doctor may have you do regular blood tests and change your medication doses.
      No food related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      No kidneys and liver related info.
      • Statins such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, or liver damage. Some people need to stop taking this medicine if these problems occur.
      • Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can raise your risk of liver damage while taking Lipitor (atorvastatin).
      • People on Lipitor (atorvastatin) have reported muscle pain, which may lead to muscle and kidney damage. This is more likely to happen if you're older and you're taking higher doses of Lipitor (atorvastatin). If you suddenly feel muscle pain or weakness and you haven't been exercising, stop taking Lipitor (atorvastatin) and talk to your doctor right away.
      • Liver damage has been reported in people who take Lipitor (atorvastatin). If you notice dark urine or yellowing of your eyes or skin, talk to your doctor. Your doctor might run blood tests to check your liver.
      Pain
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • It can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
      • Tell your doctor if you suddenly feel severe muscle pain, fever, or weakness.
      Upsides and benefits
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
      • Good for lowering triglycerides (fats).
      • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (fats), and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
      • Lipitor (atorvastatin) can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, particularly if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or a history of smoking.
      • It's one of the strongest cholesterol-lowering statin medications.
      • Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a good option for people who have high cholesterol and diabetes.
      • It's available as a generic drug and can be used in combination with other cholesterol lowering drugs.
      Downsides and risks
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • By itself, Niaspan (Niacin) isn't as effective as statins for improving cholesterol levels.
      • It can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
      • You need to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
      • If you miss doses often, you may need to re-start taking the medicine more regularly at a lower dose.
      • Statins such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, or liver damage. Some people need to stop taking this medicine if these problems occur.
      • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are a female, are 65 years or older, or drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
      • Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can raise your risk of liver damage while taking Lipitor (atorvastatin).
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      NiaspanAtorvastatin
      • Take Niaspan (Niacin) at bedtime with a low-fat snack.
      • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
      • Can cause make your skin feel hot and change color. Your doctor may tell you to take an aspirin 30 minutes before you take Niaspan (Niacin) to reduce the flushing.
      • Call your doctor if you feel unexplained muscle pain.
      • Niaspan (Niacin) works differently from other medicines you can buy over-the-counter. Don't switch it with other medicines unless your doctor agrees.
      • Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises good cholesterol.
      • Don't eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
      • Tell your doctor if you suddenly feel severe muscle pain, fever, or weakness.
      • Also tell your doctor if you have dark urine or if you notice a yellow tint in your eyes or skin.
      • Lipitor (atorvastatin) isn't safe to use if you're pregnant.
      Learn more
      More about NiaspanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Niaspan (niacin)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about AtorvastatinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Lipitor (atorvastatin)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it