Information on Tablets A-Z
Niacin is used with diet changes (restriction of cholesterol and fat intake) to reduce the amount of cholesterol and certain fatty substances in your blood. Niacin is also used to prevent and treat pellagra (niacin deficiency), a disease caused by inadequate diet and other medical problems. Niacin is a B-complex vitamin.
How should this medicine be used:
Niacin comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The regular tablet usually is taken two to three times a a day with meals, and the extended-release tablet is taken once a day, at bedtime, with food. Follow the directions on your prescription label or package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take niacin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of niacin and gradually increase your dose.
Continue to take niacin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking niacin without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine:
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking niacin,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to niacin, aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or any other drugs.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin), medications for high blood pressure or diabetes and other vitamins. If you take insulin or oral diabetes medication, your dose may need to be changed because niacin may increase the amount of sugar in your blood and urine.
tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol and if you have or have ever had diabetes; gout; ulcers; allergies; jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or gallbladder, heart, or liver disease.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking niacin, call your doctor.
if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking niacin.
you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
you should know that niacin causes flushing (redness) of the face and neck. This side effect usually goes away after taking the medicine for a few weeks. Avoid drinking alcohol or hot drinks around the time you take niacin. Taking aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) 30 minutes before niacin may reduce the flushing. If you take extended-release niacin at bedtime, the flushing will probably happen while you are asleep. If you wake up and feel flushed, get up slowly, especially if you feel dizzy or faint.
Special dietary instructions:
If you take niacin to reduce the amount of cholesterol and fats in your blood, eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet. Follow the diet prescribed by your doctor.
If I forget a dose:
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects:
Although side effects from niacin are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
itching, stinging, tingling, or burning of the skin
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
yellowing of the skin or eyes
What storage conditions:
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose:
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to niacin.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
More information: Niacin