Tags: High Cholesterol | niacin | cholesterol | statin

Should I Stop Taking My Niacin?

By    |   Monday, 17 November 2014 03:46 PM

Question: I have been taking niacin for years to keep my triglycerides and cholesterol in check, and have had no problems with it. But I've seen some new reports that suggest niacin is dangerous. I don't want to take a statin. What do you recommend?
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Niacin is a difficult drug to take and I have long discouraged patients from its use because it simply is hard for most to tolerate without side effects or interference with other medications. Yes, all drugs can be dangerous, some more than others.
If you do not allow statins to be choice, you may find that niacin will provide some benefit, but at the expense of a higher side effect risk than from statin use. Niacin’s propensity to cause negative drug interactions and liver toxicity prompted the Food and Drug Administration to recall some sustained release preparations 15 years ago and new concerns have also been raised about it.
I would recommend you revisit your choice on statins with your doctor. The newer statins such as Crestor no longer require regular blood testing and are much safer than older cholesterol-lowering drugs. Also, remember that side effects on one statin do not always transfer to other agents in the statin family. When side effects occur on statin therapy, FDA advises a drug-free interval, to monitor for symptoms, followed by trying a different statin.

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Niacin is a difficult drug to take and I have long discouraged patients from its use
niacin, cholesterol, statin
Monday, 17 November 2014 03:46 PM
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