- Does Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) cause side effects?
- What are the important side effects of Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3)?
- Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) side effects list for healthcare professionals
- What drugs interact with Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3)?
Does Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) cause side effects?
Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) is a vitamin that is part of a normal diet and is essential to various chemical reactions in the body. Niacor is used medically to treat individuals with deficiency of niacin.
It is not clear how niacin causes its effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but it may be by reducing the production of proteins that transport cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Natural sources of niacin include meat, poultry, liver, fish, nuts, green vegetables, whole grains, and potatoes.
Common side effects of Niacor include
- stomach upset,
- flushing, headache,
- dizziness from reduced blood pressure upon standing,
- itching and tingling sensations of the extremities.
Serious side effects of Niacor include rare cases of liver failure or muscle injury.
Bile acid sequestrants bind and prevent absorption of Niacor. Administration of bile acid sequestrants and Niacor should be separated by 4-6 hours.
What are the important side effects of Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3)?
The most common side effects of niacin are:
- stomach upset,
- reduced blood pressure upon standing (orthostatic hypotension),
- itching and
- tingling sensations of the extremities.
Flushing may be reduced by taking 325 mg of aspirin 30 minutes before the niacin and by increasing the dose of niacin slowly. Drinking hot liquids or alcohol shortly before or after niacin is taken may increase the occurrence of flushing. Extended release formulations of niacin may cause flushing less frequently than immediate release formulations.
Rare cases of liver failure or muscle injury have occurred from the use of niacin. Blood tests to monitor for liver injury should be performed before niacin therapy begins, every 6-12 weeks for the first year, and then occasionally thereafter.
Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Gastrointestinal: Dyspepsia, vomiting, diarrhea, peptic ulceration, jaundice, abnormal liver function tests. Skin: Mild to severe cutaneous flushing, pruritus, hyperpigmentation, acanthosis nigricans, dry skin. Metabolic: Decreased glucose tolerance, hyperuricemia, gout.
Nervous System/Psychiatric: Headache.
What drugs interact with Niacor (niacin, or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3)?
HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors: See prescribing information for skeletal muscle warnings.
Antihypertensive Therapy: Nicotinic acid may potentiate the effects of ganglionic blocking agents and vasoactive drugs resulting in postural hypotension.
Aspirin: Concomitant aspirin may decrease the metabolic clearance of nicotinic acid. The clinical relevance of this finding is unclear.
Other: Concomitant alcohol or hot drinks may increase the side effects of flushing and pruritus and should be avoided at the time of drug ingestion.
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Lower Cholesterol Levels with Diet and Medications
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered "good" cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL or "bad" cholesterol from building up in your arteries. Foods like extra lean meats, skim milk, and vegetable-based "butter-like" substitutes may help decrease LDL levels in the bloodstream.
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High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked Questions
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Medications & Supplements
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.