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- Therapy with lipid-altering agents should be only one component of multiple risk factor intervention in those individuals at significantly increased risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease due to hypercholesterolemia. Nicotinic acid, alone or in combination with a bile-acid binding resin, is indicated as an adjunct to diet for the reduction of elevated total and LDL cholesterol levels in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (Types IIa and IIb)†, when the response to a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol and other nonpharmacologic measures alone has been inadequate (see also the NCEP treatment guidelines6). Prior to initiating therapy with nicotinic acid, secondary causes for hypercholesterolemia (e.g., poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, nephrotic syndrome, dysproteinemias, obstructive liver disease, other drug therapy, alcoholism) should be excluded, and a lipid profile performed to measure total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
- Nicotinic acid is also indicated as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of adult patients with very high serum triglyceride levels (Types IV and V hyperlipidemia)† who present a risk of pancreatitis and who do not respond adequately to a determined dietary effort to control them. Such patients typically have serum triglyceride levels over 2000 mg/dL and have elevations of VLDL cholesterol as well as fasting chylomicrons (Type V hyperlipidemia)†. Subjects who consistently have total serum or plasma triglycerides below 1000 mg/dL are unlikely to develop pancreatitis. Therapy with nicotinic acid may be considered for those subjects with triglyceride elevations between 1000 and 2000 mg/dL who have a history of pancreatitis or of recurrent abdominal pain typical of pancreatitis. Some Type IV patients with triglycerides under 1000 mg/dL may, through dietary or alcoholic indiscretion, convert to a Type V pattern with massive triglyceride elevations accompanying fasting chylomicronemia, but the influence of nicotinic acid therapy on the risk of pancreatitis in such situations has not been adequately studied. Drug therapy is not indicated for patients with Type I hyperlipoproteinemia, who have elevations of chylomicrons and plasma triglycerides, but who have normal levels of VLDL. Inspection of plasma refrigerated for 14 hours is helpful in distinguishing Types I, IV, and V hyperlipoproteinemia7.
†Classification of Hyperlipoproteinemias
|I (rare)||Chylomicrons||TG||&uarrr;→ C|
|V (rare)||Chylomicrons, VLDL||TG||&uarrr;→C|
|C = cholesterol, TG = triglycerides
LDL = low-density lipoprotein
VLDL = very low-density lipoprotein
IDL = intermediate-density lipoprotein
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
The usual adult dosage of nicotinic acid is 1 to 2 grams two or three times a day. Doses should be individualized according to the patient's response. Start with one-half tablet (250 mg) as a single daily dose following the evening meal. The frequency of dosing and total daily dose can be increased every four to seven days until the desired LDL cholesterol and/or triglyceride level is achieved or the first-level therapeutic dose of 1.5 to 2 grams/day is reached. If the patient's hyperlipidemia is not adequately controlled after 2 months at this level, the dosage can then be increased at two to four week intervals to 3 grams/day (1 gram three times per day). In patients with marked lipid abnormalities, a higher dose is occasionally required, but generally should not exceed 6 grams/day.
Flushing of the skin appears frequently and can be minimized by pretreatment with aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Tolerance to this flushing develops rapidly over the course of several weeks. Flushing, pruritus, and gastrointestinal distress are also greatly reduced by slowly increasing the dose of nicotinic acid and avoiding administration on an empty stomach.
Sustained-release (modified-release, timed-release) nicotinic acid preparations should not be substituted for equivalent doses of immediate-release (crystalline) nicotinic acid.
NIACOR® (Niacin Tablets, USP) 500 mg.
Each tablet is a white, capsule-shaped, scored, uncoated tablet, debossed "US" to the left and "67" to the right of the score, with "500" strength on the unscored side.
NIACOR® (niacin tablets) is available in bottles of 100 tablets (NDC 0245-0067-11).
Dispense in a tight container as defined in the USP, with a child-resistant closure.
Store at controlled room temperature, 15-30°C (59-86°F).
6. Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol. Arch Int Med 1988; 148:36-69.
7. Nikkila EA: Familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency and related disorders of chylomicron metabolism. In Stanbury JB et al. (eds.): The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill, 1983, Chap. 30, pp. 622-642.
Manufactured by: UPSHER-SMITH LABORATORIES, INC. Minneapolis, MN 55447. Rev. 0200. FDA Rev date: 12/19/2002
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/27/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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