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How can Niaspan Help to Prevent Heart Attack?

Perhaps, it is not a common knowledge, but many people who keep pace with time are aware of the fact that the lower bad cholesterol is, the lower is the risk of experiencing a number of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack and stroke being among them.

However, there is still one more important issue one has to know if he or she cares about the sound body. The matter is that proper levels of good cholesterol also help avoid cardiovascular disorders, since high-density lipoprotein removes the excess cholesterol from the body tissues and arteries back to the liver.

Therefore, trying to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, one has to care not only about the low levels of low-density lipoprotein, but about the higher levels of good cholesterol as well.

Knowledgeable people say that nicotinic acid is an effective option and a good way to raise the levels of high-density lipoprotein. Niaspan is an extended-release tablet with niacin (nicotinic acid or vitamin B3 in other words) being its active ingredient. Studies show that these pills increase good cholesterol level an average of 14% for men and 20% for women at a dose 1000 mg taken once daily.

However, the initial dosage for the first four weeks should not exceed 500 mg. The highest possible dose is 2000 mg a day. Pills should be taken once daily with low-fat snack before bedtime. It is worthy to note that women may respond to the lower doses of Niaspan in comparison to men.

Niaspan raises good cholesterol by blocking the breakdown of fats in the liver, thus decreasing the amount of free fatty acids in the blood stream and lowering the production of very-low-density lipoprotein and bad cholesterol.

The most common side effects of this medication are sweating, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, chills, abdominal pain, itching, and rash. One of the adverse reactions, which make some patients stop taking Niaspan, is flushing. If they cannot cope with it they can be recommended to take aspirin or any NSAID thirty minutes prior to Niaspan to reduce the severity of flushing sensation. However, in the majority of people it subsides with time. Most often flushing is related to the high doses of the pill. Niaspan, on the other hand, is better tolerated than other niacin medications or supplements due to its design of extended-release pills.

It should be noted that alcohol and hot beverages are not recommended to be taken while on Niaspan, since they will exaggerate the side effects, especially flushing. People with liver disease and those suffering from diabetes, active stomach ulcers, bleeding problems, kidney or heart disorders should use the medication under the doctor’s supervision sticking to the treatment schedule and dosage recommendations.

As many other lipid-altering medications, Niaspan is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as it can cause the development of defects in the baby and experiencing side effects by the infant. Niaspan use by children under 21 was not studied, thus the pill is viewed as a poor option for their treatment.

Although it is sometimes stated that Niaspan can be combined with other cholesterol-lowering medications (Zocor, Lipitor, Lescol, etc.), such mixture has proved to cause muscle damage, thus it should be avoided. Correspondingly, the use of niacin and bile acid sequestrants for cholesterol lowering must be done 4 to 6 hours apart not to erase Niaspan effect on the body.

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This drug should not be taken simultaneously with blood pressure medicines in order to avoid the dangerous drop in the pressure. Niaspan is also not recommended to be taken along with multivitamin complexes, since the latter already contain niacin, thus patients are under the greater risk of nicotinic acid overdosing and severe side effects.

To make a conclusion it is worthy to say that Niaspan additional advantage is its effect on bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which levels are reduced along with the increase in good cholesterol amounts. Moreover, Niaspan is said to be effective in lowering the risk of the second heart attack in people who have already suffered one heart attack. This drug can slow down or even reverse the progression of the disease, thus it is one of the mighty option for protecting human health against the development of cardiovascular diseases.


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