Vitamin B3 Niacin

Vitamin B3 Niacin

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Niacin may be harmful to the fetus of pregnant women, when taken in high doses for the treatment of high cholesterol or some other conditions. Niacin is excreted in breast milk. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing. Do not take niacin if you have a stomach ulcer, severe liver disease, or active bleeding. The safe use of niacin in children has not been effectively studied and should be used with caution. Do not take this drug if you are allergic to niacin.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    You should avoid using alcohol or taking drugs during nicotinamide treatment. Both drugs and alcohol are toxic to the liver and can complicate treatment. This supplement has been shown to cause an increase in liver enzymes. Talk to your doctor about taking nicotinamide if you have liver disease or developed peptic ulcers. Nicotinamide may interact with antibiotics, antifungal medications, as well as prescription or herbal blood thinners. It may also interact with a series of seizure medications, including diazepam, carbamazepine or valproic acid. Nicotinamide interacts with normal hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone so birth control pills should be monitored. Talk to your doctor if you are taking alpha blockers or beta blockers. This medication should be taken with care if you have gallbladder disease, diabetes or suffer from gout.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Despite the fact that niacin has demonstrated better overall results than statins in reducing risk factors for coronary heart disease, physicians are often reluctant to recommend niacin except in the form of the time-released prescription product Niaspan. The reason is a widespread perception by doctors that over-the-counter regular niacin is difficult to work with because of a bothersome flushing of the skin -- like a prickly heat rash -- which typically occurs 20 to 30 minutes after the niacin is taken and disappears in about 20 to 30 minutes more. Other occasional side effects of niacin include gastric irritation, nausea, and liver damage.

    One main reason why niacin is not recommended more by doctors is that it is a widely available generic agent available over the counter in health food stores and drugstores, so no pharmaceutical company stands to enjoy the huge profits that the other lipid-lowering agents have generated. As a result, niacin does not get the intensive advertising that the statin drugs have been given. Despite the advantages of niacin over other lipid-lowering drugs, the prescription form, Niaspan, accounts for less than 10 percent of all cholesterol-lowering prescriptions.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    To reduce skin flushing as a side effect of niacin, you can use some of the newer time-released formulas, including the prescription version, Niaspan; or you can take regular over-the-counter niacin just before going to bed. Most people sleep right through the flushing reaction. Taking cholesterol-lowering agents at night is best in any case, because most of the cholesterol manufactured by the liver is produced at night. Another approach to reducing flushing is to use inositol hexaniacinate. This form of niacin has long been used in Europe to lower cholesterol levels and also to improve blood flow in intermittent claudication -- a peripheral vascular disease that is quite common in diabetics. Inositol hexaniacinate has slightly better clinical results than standard niacin, and it is much better tolerated, in terms of both flushing and -- more important -- long-term side effects. If you start out with inositol hexaniacinate and it does not work, try regular niacin. Our experience is that some people will respond only to regular niacin.

    If regular niacin or inositol hexaniacinate is being used, start with a dose of 500 mg at night before going to bed for one week. Increase the dosage to 1,000 mg the next week and to 1,500 mg the following week. Stay at 1,500 mg for two months before checking the response. Then, the dosage can be adjusted up or down, depending on the response. If you are using a time-release niacin product, such as Niaspan, start out at the full dosage of 1,500 mg at night.

    Regardless of the form of niacin being used, I strongly recommend periodic checking (at a minimum of every 3 months the first year and once yearly thereafter) of cholesterol and liver enzymes.
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    A , Pharmacy, answered

    Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, commonly causes side effects such as feeling flushed, itching or redness of the skin. Alcohol and hot drinks may increase these side effects. To reduce flushing reactions, try taking this medicine with a cool drink. You may also feel dizzy when taking vitamin B3, or it may cause an allergic reaction. Some people may notice that vitamin B3 causes insomnia. But such side effects of vitamin B3 may fade as you consume it on a regular basis.

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    A , Pharmacy, answered
    Vitamin B3 (niacin) supplements are available as a tablet and extended-release tablet, both of which are taken by mouth. Take a tablet each day according to your doctor's instructions with food and at least eight ounces of cool water. Do not take vitamin B3 with hot liquids because you may experience skin irritation and flushing. If you use the extended-release tablet, take it before you go to bed, with a snack and at least eight ounces of cool water. Be sure to swallow it without chewing, and do not break it beforehand.