Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources



Niacin is used in addition to a proper diet and exercise to help control levels of fats in the blood. It can help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL). In general, this drug is used after your blood fat levels have not been fully controlled by other treatment (e.g., diet changes, exercise, decreasing alcohol intake, stopping smoking, weight loss if overweight, and controlling blood sugar if diabetic). It may be used with or without other medications. Lowering "bad" cholesterol/triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol may help decrease the risk for strokes and heart attacks. Lowering fats may also help reduce the risk of pancreas problems (pancreatitis) in people at risk. Niacin is also known as vitamin B-3 (nicotinic acid), one of the B-complex vitamins.

Side Effects

Flushing of the face and neck along with warmth, headache, itching, burning, sweating, chills, or tingling may occur within 20 minutes of taking this medication. Flushing may persist for a few hours after use. These effects should improve or go away as your body adjusts to the medication. Dizziness, stomach upset, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: severe dizziness/fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat, severe headache (migraine), unusual joint pain, swelling of legs/arms, vision problems. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: severe stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, easy bruising/bleeding, unexplained muscle pain/tenderness/weakness, persistent nausea/vomiting, change in the amount of urine, dark urine, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, yellowing eyes/skin. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, persistent itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
The information contained in the First DataBank databases is intended to supplement the knowledge of physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals regarding drug therapy problems and patient counselling information. This information is advisory only and is not intended to replace sound clinical judgment in the delivery of healthcare services. First DataBank disclaims all warranties, whether expressed or implied, including any warranty as to the quality, accuracy, and suitability of this information for any purpose.