Compare Zetia vs. Niaspan

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

Zetia
(Ezetimibe)

Niaspan
(Niacin)

Lowers cholesterol. Zetia can improve your cholesterol, but it doesn't reduce heart attacks or heart disease, and it's expensive compared to other cholesterol-lowering medicines.Lowers cholesterol. niacin is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but it's not as good as statins for improving cholesterol.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.393700787401575Zetia
Reviews for Zetia (Ezetimibe)
42%
of people say Zetia (Ezetimibe) is worth it
34%
say it works well
20%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Niaspan (Niacin)
43%
+1% vs. Zetia (Ezetimibe)
31%
3% vs. Zetia (Ezetimibe)
19%
+1% vs. Zetia (Ezetimibe)
Side effects
ZetiaNiaspan
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
  • Arthtralgia 1%
More Zetia side effects »
  • Flushing 50%
  • Itching 6%
  • Vomiting 5%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Cough increased 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Niaspan side effects »
How it works
ZetiaNiaspan
Zetia is a cholesterol-lowering medicine. It prevents cholesterol absorption in your intestines, lowers the amount of cholesterol stored in your liver, and helps your body process cholesterol.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.
Type of medication
ZetiaNiaspan
Cholesterol-lowering
Cholesterol inhibitor
Prescription only
Cholesterol-lowering
Nicotinic acid
Prescription only
Available as
ZetiaNiaspan
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
ZetiaNiaspan
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZetiaNiaspan
    • Taking Zetia (Ezetimibe) with statins
    • Past history of liver disease
    • Taking Zetia (Ezetimibe) with statins
    Detailed Zetia (Ezetimibe) risks & warnings »
    • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Past history of liver disease
    • Diabetes
    • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with anticoagulants
    Detailed Niaspan (Niacin) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    ZetiaNiaspan
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.
    • 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.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.
    • 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.
    Kidneys and liver
    • People on Zetia (Ezetimibe) 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.
    • 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.
    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
    ZetiaNiaspan
    • Can be used with other medicines to improve cholesterol.
    • Available in a combination pill with simvastatin.
    • 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 raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
    Downsides and risks
    ZetiaNiaspan
    • Doesn't lower triglycerides (fats).
    • Hasn't been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks or heart disease.
    • By itself, Zetia is not as effective as statins for improving cholesterol.
    • There's no generic available, so it can be expensive.
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    ZetiaNiaspan
    • Lowers bad cholesterol, and raises good cholesterol.
    • Tell your doctor if you develop bone or muscle pain.
    • Can be used with other medications to lower cholesterol.
    • May cause diarrhea or raise your chance of getting colds.
    • 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.
    Learn more
    More about ZetiaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about NiaspanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert