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Int J Clin Pract. 2009 Jan;63(1):151-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01934.x. Epub 2008 Nov 28.

Does nicotinic acid (niacin) lower blood pressure?

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  • 1Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center, Louisville, KY40213, USA.


Nicotinic acid (niacin) is a well-established treatment for dyslipidaemia - an important cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor. However, niacin may also reduce blood pressure (BP), which is another important CVD risk factor. This review examines the limited publicly available data on niacin's BP effects. Acute administration of immediate-release niacin may lower BP because of niacin's acute vasodilatory effects. Although not always supported by clinical trial data, the package insert of a prescription, extended-release niacin describes niacin-induced acute hypotension. From a chronic standpoint, larger studies, such as the Coronary Drug Project, suggest that niacin may lower BP when administered over a longer period of time. Post hoc analyses of some of the more recent niacin clinical trials also support a more chronic, dose-dependent, BP-lowering effect of niacin. Because laropiprant [a prostaglandin D(2) (PGD(2)) type 1 (DP1) receptor antagonist] does not attenuate niacin's BP-lowering effects, it is unlikely that any chronic lowering of BP by niacin is due to dilation of dermal vessels through activation of the DP1 receptor by PGD(2.) Further research is warranted to evaluate the extent and mechanisms of niacin's effects on BP.

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