Generic Name: niacin (nicotinic acid)
- What is niacin?
- What are the possible side effects of niacin ?
- What is the most important information I should know about niacin?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking niacin ?
- How should I take niacin ?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while taking niacin ?
- What other drugs will affect niacin?
- Where can I get more information?
What is niacin?
Niacin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of niacin ?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- irregular heartbeats;
- severe warmth or redness under your skin;
- vision problems; or
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
- flushing (sudden warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
- upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea;
- abnormal liver function tests;
- itching, dry skin;
- skin discoloration; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about niacin?
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking niacin ?
You should not take niacin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe liver disease;
- a stomach ulcer; or
- active bleeding.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
It is not known whether niacin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
You should not breastfeed while using niacin.
Niacin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take niacin ?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Niacin can cause flushing (warmth, itching, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin). These effects should disappear over time as you keep taking the medicine. Flushing may be worse if you drink alcohol or hot beverages shortly after taking niacin.
Swallow the capsule or tablet whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.
Your dose needs may change if you switch to a different brand, strength, or form of this medicine. Avoid medication errors by using only the form and strength your doctor prescribes.
If you stop taking niacin for any length of time, talk with your doctor before starting the medication again. You may need to restart the medication at a lower dose.
This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using niacin.
Your doctor may recommend you take aspirin or an NSAID (such as ibuprofen, Advil, or Aleve) to help prevent flushing. Keep using these medicines for as long as your doctor has prescribed.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking niacin ?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage, and can also worsen the flushing effects of niacin.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.
Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or niacin will not be as effective.
What other drugs will affect niacin?
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- statin cholesterol medication;
- heart or blood pressure medication; or
- other medicines that lower blood pressure.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect niacin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about niacin.
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