What niacin medications reduce blood cholesterol levels?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Niacin/nicotinic acid (Advicor, Niacor, Niaspan) is a type of cholesterol-lowering medication. It is especially effective in combination with bile acid binders. Side effects include flushing (especially with crystalline preparations), rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, indigestion, low blood pressure, elevated uric acid blood levels, high blood sugar, peptic ulcer activation, cardiac arrhythmias, dry skin, and abnormal liver enzymes (especially with sustained-release preparations). Do not take niacin if you have chronic liver disease, active peptic ulcer, or arterial bleeding. Use with great caution if you have gallbladder disease, diabetes, severe gout, or high blood levels of uric acid. Tests of blood glucose, uric acid, and liver functions need to be performed regularly.

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