Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)

Niacin is used to lower blood levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides, and increase levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).

Niacin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


What is?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?used for?

  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type IV (Elevated VLDL)
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type V (Elevated Chylomicrons + VLDL)
  • Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation
  • Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation


What is the most important information I should know about?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?

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:

  • liver disease;
  • heart disease, chest pain (angina);
  • gout; or
  • diabetes.

It is not known whether niacin will harm an unborn baby. You may not be able to use this medicine during pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using niacin.

Niacin is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?

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;
  • cough;
  • skin discoloration; or
  • headache.

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.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Can I take?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Risk cannot be ruled out
Based on FDA pregnancy categories

It is not known whether niacin will harm an unborn baby. You may not be able to use this medicine during pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using niacin.


What drugs and food should I avoid while taking?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?

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.

Dosage Guidelines & Tips

How to take?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?

Use?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

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.

Niacin is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

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 should I do if I missed a dose of?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?

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.

Overdose Signs

What happens if I overdose on?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on:?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid),? call your doctor or the Poison Control center
(800) 222-1222
If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking?Niacin (Nicotinic Acid), call 911


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Medical Disclaimer

Drugs A-Z provides drug information from Everyday Health and our partners, as well as ratings from our members, all in one place. Cerner Multum? provides the data within some of the Overview, Uses, Warnings, Side Effects, Pregnancy, Interactions, Dosage, Overdose, and Images sections. The information within all other sections is proprietary to Everyday Health.?