Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Niaspan

(Niacin)

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Lowers cholesterol.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

niacin is good for lowering triglycerides (fats), but it's not as good as statins for improving cholesterol.

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  • 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).
  • 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.

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Side effects for Niaspan (Niacin)

From clinical trials of Niaspan / High cholesterol (500 mg/day) ( 244)

  • FlushingFlushing68% for Niacin vs.19% for placebo
  • ItchingItching8% for Niacin vs.2% for placebo
  • DiarrheaDiarrhea7% for Niacin vs.13% for placebo
  • NauseaNausea5% for Niacin vs.7% for placebo
  • RashRash5% for Niacin vs.0% for placebo
  • Cough increasedCough increased3% for Niacin vs.6% for placebo

Manufacturers don’t say how common these side effects are

  • Vomiting

What to expect when you take Niaspan (Niacin)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.

Risks and Warnings for Niaspan (Niacin)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins

    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.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Niaspan (Niacin)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • You have to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Take it at bedtime with a low-fat snack.
  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
Kidneys & liver
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.