Niaspan

(extended release niacin)

With many aspects of medicine, recommendations continue to evolve.  Niacin supplementation is a prime example.

Doctors have historically recommended over-the-counter niacin tablets to help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol.  Unfortunately, the benefits of niacin have recently been found to be minimal, if any, especially in patients with known coronary disease.  Additionally, patients often experience unpleasant side-effects with niacin.  Niaspan was created to lessen these side effects.

When recommended (in relatively low risk patients), Niaspan should be taken at bedtime and swallowed whole, not broken or crushed.  In order to minimize side effects, we like to “titrate” your dose, slowly working up to 1,500mg…

  • Month 1one 500mg. tablet at bedtime
  • Month 2two 500mg tablets at bedtime (total 1,000mg.)
  • Month 3two 750mg tablets at bedtime (total 1,500mg.)

Some people experience mild itching, flushing, or nausea when they first start Niaspan. If you should experience these symptoms, try taking one regular adult aspirin about 30 minutes before your Niaspan. It is important that you take the Niaspan every night without fail. If you miss your Niaspan for a couple of nights and then try to restart, you will likely experience the above side-effects.

If you’d like to learn more about niacin, we would be happy to discuss it with you further at your next visit.