Compare Niaspan vs. Omega 3 Acid

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

Niaspan
(Niacin)

Lovaza
(Omega-3 Acid)

Lowers cholesterol. niacin is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but it's not as good as statins for improving cholesterol.Lowers triglycerides. Omega-3 Acid is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but some people can't take it due to allergies.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.226315789473684Niaspan
Reviews for Niaspan (Niacin)
43%
of people say Niaspan (Niacin) is worth it
31%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Lovaza (Omega-3 Acid)
59%
+16% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
50%
+19% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
28%
9% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
Side effects
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
  • Flushing 50%
  • Itching 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Niaspan side effects »
  • Eructation 3%
  • Indigestion 1%
More Omega 3 Acid side effects »
How it works
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
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.Omega-3 Acid is a cholesterol-lowering medicine. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it may help the liver remove triglycerides from your body, and also prevent your body from making more triglycerides.
Type of medication
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
Cholesterol-lowering
Nicotinic acid
Prescription only
Cholesterol-lowering
Omega-3 fatty acid
Prescription only
Available as
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
Risk factors for serious side effects
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
  • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Past history of liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with anticoagulants
Detailed Niaspan (Niacin) risks & warnings »
  • Allergy to fish or shellfish
  • Atrial fibrillation
Detailed Lovaza (Omega-3 Acid) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
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
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
  • 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.
No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
  • 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.
  • You have to take it with food.
  • Take it with food.
Kidneys and liver
  • 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.
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
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
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
  • 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).
  • Lowers triglycerides (fats) when combined with exercise and a low cholesterol diet.
  • In studies, Omega-3 Acid has lowered the risk of stroke and heart attack leading to death, especially in people with high cholesterol or high triglycerides.
Downsides and risks
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
  • 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.
  • You can't take it if you're allergic to fish or shellfish.
  • You have to take it with food.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
NiaspanOmega 3 Acid
  • 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.
  • Lowers triglycerides.
  • Take it with food.
  • Swallow capsules whole.
  • Can cause burping and changes in taste.
  • Don't use if you have an allergy to fish or shellfish.
  • You should use this medicine in combination with a healthy diet.
Learn more
More about NiaspanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about Omega 3 AcidSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert