Niacin (By mouth)
Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and treats niacin deficiency (pellagra). Also reduces heart attack risk and narrowing of the arteries in people who have heart disease. This medicine is a vitamin (B3).
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When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
How to Use This Medicine
Liquid, Capsule, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet, Long Acting Capsule
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet or exercise program.
- If you are using this medicine without a prescription, follow the instructions on the medicine label.
- If you are switching to this medicine from another form of niacin, ask your doctor about the correct dose. The dose of niacin may be different in other forms of this medicine.
- It is best to take this medicine at bedtime with a low-fat meal or snack.
- Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup.
- Swallow the extended-release capsule or extended-release tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using other medicine to lower cholesterol (such as Lipitor®, Zocor®), heart or blood pressure medicine (such as Lotrel®, Procardia®, Cardura®, Hytrin®), a nitrate medicine (such as nitroglycerin, isosorbide), a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin®), or vitamin supplements. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol on a regular basis.
- If you are also taking other medicines to lower cholesterol, take them at least 4 hours before or after you take niacin.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have diabetes, angina (chest pain), gout, kidney disease, thyroid problems, low blood pressure, or have ever had ulcers, liver disease, or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- This medicine may make you dizzy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert. Be careful if you get out of bed during the night. Tell your doctor if you have severe dizziness or fainting.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine.
- You may feel warmth, redness, itching, or tingling in the face, neck, arms, or upper chest while using this medicine. This is called "flushing," and it usually improves after you have been taking niacin on a regular basis for awhile. To help prevent flushing, do not drink alcohol or hot drinks at the same time you take niacin. Also, ask your doctor if you can take aspirin or an anti-inflammatory medicine 30 minutes before taking niacin.
- If you stop using this medicine for several days, talk to your doctor before you start using it again. You many need to start with a smaller dose.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in the upper stomach
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
- Unusual tiredness, fever, nausea
- Yellow skin or eyes, dark-colored urine or pale stools
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last reviewed on 8/4/2014
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