• Hyperlipoproteinemias

Niacin Generic Name & Formulations

General Description

Niacin 500mg, 750mg, 1g; ext-rel tabs.

Pharmacological Class

Nicotinic acid deriv.

How Supplied

Contact supplier

Mechanism of Action

The mechanism by which niacin alters lipid profiles has not been well defined. It may involve several actions including partial inhibition of release of free fatty acids from adipose tissue, and increased lipoprotein lipase activity, which may increase the rate of chylomicron triglyceride removal from plasma. Niacin decreases the rate of hepatic synthesis of VLDL and LDL, and does not appear to affect fecal excretion of fats, sterols, or bile acids.

Niacin Indications


Adjunct to diet in primary hyperlipidemia and mixed dyslipidemia to reduce elevated total-C, LDL-C, apo B, TG and to increase HDL-C. To reduce risk of recurrent nonfatal MI in patients with a history of MI and hyperlipidemia. Combined with a bile acid sequestrant to slow progression or promote regression of atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease and hyperlipidemia. Combined with a bile acid sequestrant to reduce elevated total-C and LDL-C in primary hyperlipidemia when diet or diet + monotherapy has been inadequate. Adjunct in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia who are at risk for pancreatitis, when determined dietary measures are inadequate.

Limitations of Use

The addition of niacin did not reduce cardiovascular morbidity or mortality among patients treated with simvastatin in a controlled trial.

Niacin Dosage and Administration


Swallow whole. Take at bedtime with low-fat snack. Avoid concomitant alcohol, hot beverages, or spicy foods; may pre-treat with aspirin (up to 325mg) ½ hour before dosing. >16yrs: initially 500mg once daily for 4 weeks, then 1g once daily for weeks 5–8. May increase by up to 500mg every 4 weeks to usual range of 1–2g daily; max 2g/day. Retitrate if restarting after an extended time. Women may respond at lower doses than men.


≤16yrs: not established.

Niacin Contraindications


Active liver disease. Unexplained elevations of serum transaminases. Active peptic ulcer disease. Arterial bleeding.

Niacin Boxed Warnings

Not Applicable

Niacin Warnings/Precautions


Do not substitute for equivalent doses of immediate-release or sustained-release niacin (hepatotoxicity may occur). History of jaundice, hepatobiliary disease, peptic ulcer. Substantial alcohol consumption. Monitor serum transaminase levels (before treatment, then every 6–12 weeks for 1 year, then periodically); discontinue if transaminase levels ≥3×ULN persist or if signs of liver disease occur. Renal impairment. Cardiovascular disease (eg, unstable angina, acute MI). Gout. Monitor blood glucose and for hypophosphatemia. Surgery. Diabetes or patients at risk for diabetes. Uncontrolled hypothyroidism. Elderly. Pregnancy (discontinue if occurs). Nursing mothers: not recommended.

Niacin Pharmacokinetics





Niacin Interactions


Avoid other products with high amounts of niacin or nicotinamide, alcohol. Monitor for myopathy/rhabdomyolysis with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. May potentiate antihypertensives, other vasoactive drugs (eg, ganglionic or adrenergic blockers, nitrates, calcium channel blockers). Caution with anticoagulants (monitor PT and platelet counts). Antidiabetic agents may need adjustment. Separate dosing of bile acid sequestrants by at least 4–6 hours. May cause false (+) Benedict's test.

Niacin Adverse Reactions

Adverse Reactions

Flushing, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cough, pruritus, rash, dizziness, tachycardia, palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, chills, edema, muscle pain; glucose intolerance, abnormal LFTs.

Niacin Clinical Trials

See Literature

Niacin Note


Formerly known under the brand name Niaspan.

Niacin Patient Counseling

See Literature