Niaspan

Generic Name: Niacin

  • What is Niaspan?

    Niaspan is used along with diet and exercise to improve cholesterol levels when exercise and a low-fat diet alone have not been adequate. Niaspan increases "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your body and also lowers the "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Niaspan?

    Taking Niaspan is not a substitute for following a healthy low-fat and low-cholesterol diet and exercising to lower your cholesterol. Your doctor will perform liver tests on you while you are taking Niaspan. If you are currently on both a statin and Niaspan, be alert for any signs and symptoms of muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly during the initial months of therapy and when the dose of either drug is being increased. These may be the symptoms of a potentially serious condition. If you stop taking Niaspan for an extended period, contact your doctor before you start taking it again. Your dose may need to be adjusted. Flushing occurs with Niaspan and may last for several hours. Talk with your doctor if flushing becomes bothersome. Take Niaspan at bedtime so that flushing will occur during sleep. If you are awakened by flushing at night, get up slowly, especially if you feel dizzy or faint, or if you are taking blood thinners. Take aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, 30 minutes before taking Niaspan to lessen flushing. Avoid ingesting alcohol, hot beverages, or spicy foods around the time of taking Niaspan to minimize flushing. Niaspan may cause an increase in blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels more frequently during the first few months of therapy. Ask your doctor before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetes medicine.

  • Who should not take Niaspan?

    Do not take Niaspan if you are allergic to the medication or any of its ingredients. Also, do not take Niaspan if you have active or unexplained liver disease, stomach ulcers, or a history of arterial bleeding.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Niaspan?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Niaspan. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have gout (severe and painful inflammation of the joints), heart, kidney, or liver problems. Tell your doctor if you have diabetes; muscle pain or disease; gallbladder problems; bleeding problems; stomach ulcers; or if you consume large amounts of alcohol.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: The usual starting dose is 500 milligrams (mg) taken once a day at bedtime. Every 4 weeks, your doctor may increase your dose as necessary. Women may respond to lower doses than men.

  • How should I take Niaspan?

    Take each dose of Niaspan with a full glass of water at bedtime, after a low-fat snack (such as low-fat yogurt, banana, or crackers with a glass of milk).

    Do not take Niaspan on an empty stomach. Swallow Niaspan whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablets.

    If you are taking Niaspan with another type of cholesterol-lowering drug called a bile acid sequestrant, you should wait 4-6 hours, or as much time as possible, between taking each drug.

  • What should I avoid while taking Niaspan?

    Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to Niaspan; this drug may cause dizziness or lightheadedness.

    Avoid sitting or standing up too quickly when you are taking Niaspan, especially in the morning or in the middle of the night.

    Sit or lie down at the first sign of dizziness. Do not take large doses of vitamins while you use Niaspan without talking to your doctor.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Niaspan?

    If Niaspan is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Niaspan with the following: alcohol, blood-pressure lowering medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs known as bile acid sequestrants, statins such as lovastatin or simvastatin, or vitamins/other nutritional supplements containing large doses of niacin.

  • What are the possible side effects of Niaspan?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: flushing, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, increased cough, itching

  • Can I receive Niaspan if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Niaspan during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Niaspan?

    If you miss a dose of Niaspan, skip the missed dose. Do not take the dose in the morning or two doses at once. Continue your regular dosing schedule after the missed dose.

  • How should I store Niaspan?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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