Compare Niaspan vs. simvastatin

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

Niaspan
(niacin)

Zocor
(simvastatin)

Lowers cholesterol. Niaspan (Niacin) lowers triglycerides, but isn't as good as statins for improving cholesterol levels.Lowers cholesterol. Zocor (simvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.23Niaspan
Reviews for Niaspan
43%
of people (All ages) say Niaspan 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 simvastatin
61%
-18% worse vs. Niaspan
48%
-17% worse vs. Niaspan
14%
-5% worse vs. Niaspan
1176 reviews
Have you used Zocor (simvastatin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Niaspansimvastatin
  • Flushing 49%
  • Itching 6%
  • Rash 5%
More Niaspan side effects »
  • Bronchitis 1%
  • Abnormal heart rhythm 1%
  • Scaly, itchy rash 2%
  • Stomach problems 1%
  • Balance problems 1%
  • Headache 1%
More simvastatin side effects »
How it works
Niaspansimvastatin
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.Zocor (simvastatin) is cholesterol-lowering medicine called a statin. It helps lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL).
Type of medication
Niaspansimvastatin
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
Niaspansimvastatin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Used for
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 other cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Older age
  • Female gender
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.

Interactions
Niaspansimvastatin
  • 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.
  • Certain medications can interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking.
  • Can have more drug interactions than some other drugs in the same class (statins).
Alcohol
Niaspansimvastatin
  • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
  • You are at higher risk for side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
Food
Niaspansimvastatin
  • You need to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
Niaspansimvastatin
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • People on Zocor (simvastatin) have reported muscle pain, which may lead to muscle and kidney damage. This is more likely to happen if you take higher doses of Zocor (simvastatin). If you suddenly feel muscle pain, weakness or fever and you haven't been exercising, stop taking Zocor (simvastatin) and talk to your doctor right away.
  • 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 regularly.
Pain
Niaspansimvastatin
  • It can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
  • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain, muscle damage, 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.
  • Good for lowering triglycerides (fats).
  • Can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, particularly if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or a history of smoking.
  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (fats) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
  • Available in generic.
  • Available in combination pills with other cholesterol medicines.
Downsides and risks
Niaspansimvastatin
  • 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.
  • You are at higher risk for side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Can have more drug interactions than some other drugs in the same class (statins).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
Niaspansimvastatin
  • 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.
  • 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 about the medicines you are taking.
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