Niaspan is used in combination with appropriate diet and exercise to lower cholesterol. This medication is believed to work by decreasing the production of cholesterol in the body. Niaspan helps to lower total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides. It also raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Niaspan differs from immediate-release niacin in that it is dissolved slowly by the body and is released over a longer period of time. This allows steadier levels of the drug to be maintained in the bloodstream. Therefore, Niaspan only needs to be taken once daily, as opposed to immediate-release niacin which is usually taken multiple times a day. Because Niaspan is taken less frequently than immediate-release Niaspan, unwanted side effects, such as flushing, may be reduced.
Extended-release tablets containing 500 mg, 750 mg, or 1000 mg of niacin.
Before Taking Niaspan
Before taking Niaspan, talk to your doctor:
About all medications you are currently taking
About any current or past medical conditions you have had
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
If you are undergoing surgery
If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Niaspan
Proper Use of Niaspan
Dosage should be individualized according to patient's response under direction of a doctor and should be taken at bedtime.
Usual Adult Starting Dose: 500 mg daily for the first 4 weeks.
Dosage Increase: Increase to 1000 mg daily for next 4 weeks (weeks 5-8).
Dosage Increase (if necessary): Increase to 1500 mg daily for next 4 weeks (weeks 9-12).
Equivalent doses of Niaspan should not be substituted for any other form of niacin
If lipid response to Niaspan alone is insufficient, or if higher doses of Niaspan are not well tolerated, some patients may benefit from combination therapy with a bile acid binding resin or a statin
The most common side effect associated with Niaspan use is flushing, which is a warm, tingling, itchy feeling of the skin, generally of the face and neck. Niaspan causes flushing by dilating the blood vessels on the surface of the skin. Alcohol and hot drinks should be avoided around the time of Niaspan ingestion as they may increase the flushing side effect.
In some patients, flushing may be more intense. Additional symptoms, such as rapid or pronounced heartbeat or dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, chills, and/or swelling may occur; on rare occasions, fainting may occur.
Other side effects that may occur while taking Niaspan include:
Talk to your doctor if you experience any unwanted side effects while taking Niaspan.