How effective is niacin for high cholesterol?

Dr. Daniel R. Spogen, MD
Family Practitioner

Niacin is less effective at lowering high cholesterol levels and most effective at lowering triglyceride levels. Additionally the potential side effects of niacin and the benefits of other medications that have fewer side effects has caused niacin to be prescribed far less.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

The use of non-statin drugs to reduce cardiovascular risk has been called into question. A large study (2014) found that niacin did not reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in people already taking a statin. (Niacin did reduce the risk of stroke and non-fatal heart attack in people who were not taking a statin.) Further, United Kingdom guidelines (NICE 2014) state that niacin offers no benefit and should not be offered. 

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