Compare Niaspan vs. Simvastatin

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

Niaspan
(Niacin)

Zocor
(Simvastatin)

Lowers cholesterol. niacin is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but it's not as good as statins for improving cholesterol.Lowers cholesterol. Zocor (Simvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.226315789473684Niaspan
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 Zocor (Simvastatin)
61%
+18% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
48%
+17% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
14%
+5% vs. Niaspan (Niacin)
1172 reviews
Have you used Zocor (Simvastatin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
NiaspanSimvastatin
  • Flushing 50%
  • Itching 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Niaspan side effects »
  • Upset stomach 3%
  • Scaly, itchy rash 2%
  • Bronchitis 1%
  • Vertigo 1%
  • Muscle pain 1%
  • Edema/swelling 1%
  • Abnormal heart rhythm 1%
More Simvastatin side effects »
How it works
NiaspanSimvastatin
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.Zocor (Simvastatin) 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
NiaspanSimvastatin
Cholesterol-lowering
Nicotinic acid
Prescription only
Cholesterol-lowering
Statin
Prescription only
Available as
NiaspanSimvastatin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for (click to learn more)
NiaspanSimvastatin
Risk factors for serious side effects
NiaspanSimvastatin
  • 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 Zocor (Simvastatin)
  • Combining Zocor (Simvastatin) 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 Zocor (Simvastatin) in the body
    Detailed Zocor (Simvastatin) 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
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    No interactions related info.
    • Certain medications can interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
    Alcohol
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
    • 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.
    Food
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    • 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 food related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    • 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.
    • There are rare cases of muscle damage leading to kidney failure in people taking Zocor (Simvastatin). 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.
    • There are reports of liver damage in people who take Zocor (Simvastatin), 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.
    Pain
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    • Can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
    • 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.
    Upsides and benefits
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    • 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
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    • 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.
    • 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
    NiaspanSimvastatin
    • 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
    Have you used Niaspan (Niacin)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about SimvastatinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Zocor (Simvastatin)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it