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Am J Ther. 1996 Sep;3(9):637-639.

Effect of Low-Dose Niacin on Glucose Control in Patients with Non--Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus and Hyperlipidemia.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Prescott, AZ, USA.



High doses of niacin have been shown to impair glucose control in patients with non--insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). We undertook a study to determine if low-dose niacin has a similar effect.


Patients with stable NIDDM and hyperlipidemia underwent a 2-month observation phase where diet and diabetes medication were unchanged. Fasting blood sugar was determined every 2 weeks, and hemoglobin A(1c) and lipid profile was obtained at week 8. Patients then received niacin 500 mg three times daily for 2 months with fasting blood sugar measured every 2 weeks and hemoglobin A(1c) and lipid profile determined at week 16. Statistical analysis was performed using a t-test for related groups.


Six of nine patients completed the protocol. Mean fasting blood sugar was statistically higher during niacin therapy versus baseline (131 mg/dL plus minus 27 vs. 161 mg/dL plus minus 40, p < 0.05). Two patients had an increase in fasting blood sugar exceeding 200 mg/dL. No change was noted in hemoglobin A(1c). There was a trend in a decrease in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride. High-density lipoprotein was statistically higher after niacin therapy.


Low-dose niacin increases fasting blood sugar in patients with stable NIDDM.


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