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Circulation. 2004 Dec 7;110(23):3512-7. Epub 2004 Nov 10.

Arterial Biology for the Investigation of the Treatment Effects of Reducing Cholesterol (ARBITER) 2: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of extended-release niacin on atherosclerosis progression in secondary prevention patients treated with statins.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research, Cardiology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Ave, NW, Bldg 2, Room 3L28, Washington, DC 20307-5001, USA.

Erratum in

  • Circulation. 2004 Dec 7;110(23):3615.
  • Circulation. 2005 Jun 21;111(24):e446.



Niacin reduces coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality when taken either alone or in combination with statins; however, the incremental impact of adding niacin to background statin therapy is unknown.


This was a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study of once-daily extended-release niacin (1000 mg) added to background statin therapy in 167 patients (mean age 67 years) with known coronary heart disease and low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C; <45 mg/dL). The primary end point was the change in common carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) after 1 year. Baseline CIMT (0.884+/-0.234 mm), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (89+/-20 mg/dL), and HDL-C (40+/-7 mg/dL) were comparable in the placebo and niacin groups. Adherence to niacin exceeded 90%, and 149 patients (89.2%) completed the study. HDL-C increased 21% (39 to 47 mg/dL) in the niacin group. After 12 months, mean CIMT increased significantly in the placebo group (0.044+/-0.100 mm; P<0.001) and was unchanged in the niacin group (0.014+/-0.104 mm; P=0.23). Although the overall difference in IMT progression between the niacin and placebo groups was not statistically significant (P=0.08), niacin significantly reduced the rate of IMT progression in subjects without insulin resistance (P=0.026). Clinical cardiovascular events occurred in 3 patients treated with niacin (3.8%) and 7 patients treated with placebo (9.6%; P=0.20).


The addition of extended-release niacin to statin therapy slowed the progression of atherosclerosis among individuals with known coronary heart disease and moderately low HDL-C.

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