niacin extended-release - oral, Niaspan (cont.)

HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth with a low-fat meal or snack, usually at bedtime or as directed by your doctor. Taking niacin on an empty stomach increases side effects (e.g., flushing, upset stomach). Swallow this medication whole. Do not crush, chew, or break the tablets. Doing so can destroy the long action of the drug and may increase side effects.Niacin is available in different formulations (e.g., immediate and sustained release). Do not switch other strengths, brands, or forms of niacin with this product. Severe liver problems may occur.Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Generally, your doctor will start you at a low dose and gradually increase your dose in order to minimize side effects. Your dose will need to be increased slowly, even if you are already taking niacin and are being switched from another niacin product (e.g., immediate-release tablets) to this product. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take niacin at least 4-6 hours before or after taking these medications. These products can react with niacin, preventing its full absorption. Continue to take other medications to lower your cholesterol as directed by your doctor.To lessen the chance of side effects such as flushing, avoid alcohol and hot beverages near the time you take niacin. Taking a plain (non-enteric coated, 325 milligram) aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (e.g., ibuprofen, 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before taking niacin may help prevent flushing. Ask your doctor if this treatment is right for you.Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol do not feel sick.Do not stop taking this medicine unless instructed by your doctor. If niacin is stopped, you may need to return to your original dose and gradually increase it again. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for instructions on restarting your dose if you have not taken your medication for several days.It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise.

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