Vitamin B3 Niacin

Vitamin B3 Niacin

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    ARichard Walsh, Social Work, answered on behalf of TherapyLiveCare
    Not at this time. I'm answering this question based upon personal experience. Due to the high co-payment my insurance charged ($50.) I searched for lower cost alternatives. I found I could obtain Niaspan made by Abbott Labs, the same company that provides me Niaspan under my current insurance, via the internet through a Canadian pharmacy for almost half the co-pay cost! They also had even cheaper versions of Niaspan by other manufactorers. I spoke with my primary doctor and she said she would be happy to provide a prescription in order to purchase this and other medications to a Canadian pharmacy. Just make sure you are dealing with a reputable Canadian pharmacy!
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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    Niaspan may interact with other drugs that also work to lower cholesterol. If you take blood thinners, multivitamins with niacin, blood pressure medications, or heart medications, they may interact with Niaspan. In addition, there may be additional drugs or foods that interact with Niaspan, so be sure to tell your doctor all medications you are taking, including over the counter medicines and supplements, so you can avoid a potentially dangerous interaction.

     

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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    Niaspan should not be taken by people who are allergic to the ingredients in Niaspan. If you have liver disease, a stomach ulcer, or active bleeding, you shouldn't take Niaspan. If you take blood thinners, multivitamins with niacin, blood pressure medications, or heart medications, Niaspan may have a potentially dangerous interaction. Pregnant or nursing women may not want to take Niaspan as the risk is unknown. Talk with your doctor before starting Niaspan.

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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    People who need to raise their good cholesterol while lowering their bad cholesterol should take Niaspan. If you're seeking to reduce the risk for a second heart attack, keep your arteries from hardening, or lower serum triglyceride levels, Niaspan may be for you. You should only take Niaspan if you don't have liver disease, a stomach ulcer, or active bleeding.

     

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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    Like all medications, Niaspan can have risks. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Niaspan, or have liver disease, a stomach ulcer, or active bleeding, you should avoid Niaspan. If you have diabetes, gout, or a muscle disorder, Niaspan could be risky for you. It is not known if Niaspan is risky to take during pregnancy or nursing, so talk to your doctor before taking Niaspan if you are pregnant or nursing.

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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    The most common side effect of Niaspan is a flushing reaction of the chest and face that occurs shortly after taking the medication. This side effect usually diminishes as your body adjusts to Niaspan over the course of several weeks. Less common but more severe side effects of Niaspan may include darkening of urine, loss of appetite, light gray stools, yellow eyes or skin, and intense abdominal pain. If any of these side effects occur, you should talk with your doctor. Less serious side effects you may experience include dizziness when getting up, unusual thirst, headache, rash, itching, nausea, achiness, and fatigue.

  • 1 Answer
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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    Certain precautions are important to consider before taking Niaspan. Niaspan can interact adversely with certain other substances, so you should let your doctor know what drugs and supplements you might be using. In particular, alcohol and blood thinners can have unwanted interactions with Niaspan. Niaspan can increase sugar in your blood, causing potential complications for persons with diabetes. Finally, Niaspan can cause drowsiness, so you should not operate a vehicle until you know how this medication affects you.

  • 2 Answers
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    AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    Niaspan is a prescription lipid-lowering drug that, along with diet changes, is used to control levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood. Niaspan is a pharmaceutical name for niacin or nicotinic acid, one of the B vitamins.

     

    In conjunction with certain dietary changes (typically lowering fat and sugar consumption), Niaspan helps to lower cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood. It does this by cutting down on the amount of cholesterol produced by your liver, lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. When cholesterol levels are controlled in the blood, this can help to combat or prevent other conditions that may develop from fatty deposits accumulating in the blood vessels, including heart disease.

     

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    Nicotinic acid or niacin, the water-soluble B vitamin, improves all lipoproteins when given in doses well above the vitamin requirement. Nicotinic acid lowers total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL-cholesterol levels. There are three types of nicotinic acid: immediate release, timed release, and extended release. Most experts recommend starting with the immediate-release form; discuss with your doctor which type is best for you. Nicotinic acid is inexpensive and widely accessible to patients without a prescription but must not be used for cholesterol lowering without the monitoring of a physician because of the potential side effects.

    All patients taking nicotinic acid to lower serum cholesterol should be closely monitored by their doctor to avoid complications from this medication. Self-medication with nicotinic acid should definitely be avoided because of the possibility of missing a serious side effect if not under a doctor's care.

    Nicotinic acid reduces LDL-cholesterol levels by 10 to 20 percent, reduces triglycerides by 20 to 50 percent, and raises HDL-cholesterol by 15 to 35 percent.

    A common and troublesome side effect of nicotinic acid is flushing or hot flashes, which are the result of blood vessels opening wide. Most patients develop a tolerance to flushing and, in some patients; it can be decreased by taking the drug during or after meals or by the use of aspirin or other similar medications prescribed by your doctor. The extended release form may cause less flushing than the other forms. The effect of high blood pressure medicines may also be increased while you are on niacin. If you are taking high blood pressure medication, it is important to set up a blood pressure monitoring system while you are getting used to your new niacin regimen. A variety of gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, indigestion, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, and the activation of peptic ulcers have been seen with the use of nicotinic acid.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    I recommend taking 100 milligrams of niacin four times a day to increase your (good) HDL cholesterol level. Regular (and over-the-counter) niacin is much cheaper than prescription niacin, and there seems to be a beneficial effect of extended-release doses. Sometimes higher doses are needed, in which case your doctor needs to peek at your liver function to ensure that you avoid the uncommon toxicity.

    To reduce flushing (feeling hot and light-headed), take an aspirin a half hour ahead of time and take the niacin as you go to bed.

    Do not increase the dose above this level without talking to your doctor, and check with your doctor before using niacin at any dose if you have a history of liver problems.