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Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Jun;60(6):707-15.

Clinical evidence for use of acetyl salicylic acid in control of flushing related to nicotinic acid treatment.

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Department of Internal Medicine VI, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.


Nicotinic acid (NA) is highly effective and widely used in the management of dyslipidaemia. For many patients, the side effect of flushing of the face and upper body leads to discontinuation. Flushing with NA is mediated by prostaglandins, and as acetyl salicylic acid (ASA, 'aspirin') is a highly effective inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis, there is a rationale for its use to prevent or reduce the severity of NA-related flushing. This literature survey identified four studies specifically exploring the utility of ASA in preventing NA-related flushing in healthy volunteers. Twenty-three NA studies, where ASA was mandatory or optional within the protocol, and four studies, where background ASA therapy was reported in most participants, were also identified. Although the incidence of flushing in studies using ASA was often high, discontinuation rates due to flushing were low (mean 7.7%). This figure compares favourably with discontinuation rates with NA commonly reported in the literature (up to approximately 40%). There is good supportive evidence for the use of ASA in reducing the severity of NA-related flushing.

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