Compare Niaspan vs. Pravastatin

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

Niaspan
(Niacin)

Pravachol
(Pravastatin)

Lowers cholesterol. niacin is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but it's not as good as statins for improving cholesterol.Lowers cholesterol. Pravachol (Pravastatin) can improve cholesterol, but it's not as strong as other statin medicines. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.
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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 Pravachol (Pravastatin)
54%
+11% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
44%
+13% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
19%
Same vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
Side effects
NiaspanPravastatin
  • Flushing 50%
  • Itching 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Niaspan side effects »
  • Upper respiratory infection 4%
  • Nausea/vomiting 4%
  • Decreased liver functiond 3%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Flu 3%
  • Headache 3%
  • Sore throats 2%
  • Heart-related chest pain 2%
  • Inflammation inside the noses 2%
  • G-gt increased 2%
More Pravastatin side effects »
How it works
NiaspanPravastatin
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.Pravachol (Pravastatin) 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).
Type of medication
NiaspanPravastatin
Cholesterol-lowering
Nicotinic acid
Prescription only
Cholesterol-lowering
Statin
Prescription only
Available as
NiaspanPravastatin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
NiaspanPravastatin
Risk factors for serious side effects
NiaspanPravastatin
  • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Past history of liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with anticoagulants
Detailed Niaspan (Niacin) risks & warnings »
  • Kidney disease
  • High dose of Pravachol (Pravastatin)
  • Combining Pravachol (Pravastatin) with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Older age and female gender
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • History of chronic liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Certain drugs can increase the dose of Pravachol (Pravastatin) in the body
    Detailed Pravachol (Pravastatin) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    NiaspanPravastatin
    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
    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
    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.
    • 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.
    • There are reports of liver damage in people who take Pravachol (Pravastatin), especially if they are heavy alcohol drinkers or have a history of liver disease. If you notice dark urine or yellowing of the eyes or skin, tell your doctor. Your doctor may also want to check your liver function periodically.
    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.
    No specific food-related info.
    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.
    • 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.
    • There are rare cases of muscle damage leading to kidney failure in people taking Pravachol (Pravastatin). The risk is greater in people with kidney disease or thyroid disease, are older and female and taking certain cholesterol-lowering medication combinations. Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, weakness or fever and there is no known cause.
    • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain (myopathy), muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis) and kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist when taking any new medications.
    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
    NiaspanPravastatin
    • 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 "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.
    Downsides and risks
    NiaspanPravastatin
    • 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.
    • Not the best choice for people who have very high cholesterol levels.
    • 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.
    • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    NiaspanPravastatin
    • 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 bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises good cholesterol.
    • Most people reach their target cholesterol levels in 4 to 6 weeks.
    • 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.
    • Certain medications can interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
    Learn more
    More about NiaspanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about PravastatinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert