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Am J Cardiol. 2008 Mar 1;101(5):625-30. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.10.023. Epub 2007 Dec 21.

Effects of laropiprant on nicotinic acid-induced flushing in patients with dyslipidemia.

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Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ, USA.


Niacin (nicotinic acid) is not optimally used mainly because of flushing, a process mediated primarily by prostaglandin D(2), which leads to poor patient compliance and suboptimal dosing. This phase II dose-ranging study was designed to assess whether the prostaglandin D(2) receptor 1 antagonist laropiprant (LRPT; MK-0524) would (1) reduce extended-release niacin (ERN)-induced flushing in dyslipidemic patients and (2) support a novel accelerated ERN dosing paradigm: initiating ERN at 1 g and advancing rapidly to 2 g. In part A of the study, 154 dyslipidemic patients were randomized to LRPT 150 mg/day or placebo in a 9-week, 2-period crossover study. Patients who completed part A (n = 122) entered part B (after a 2-week washout), together with additional patients who entered part B directly (n = 290). Part B patients were randomized to placebo, ERN 1 g (Niaspan, no previous titration), or ERN 1 g coadministered with LRPT 18.75, 37.5, 75, or 150 mg for 4 weeks, with doubling of the respective doses for the remaining 4 weeks. Patients treated with LRPT plus ERN experienced significantly less ERN-induced flushing than those treated with ERN alone during the initiation of treatment (ERN 1 g, week 1) and the maintenance treatment (ERN 1 to 2 g, weeks 2 to 8). All doses of LRPT were maximally effective in inhibiting niacin-induced flushing. LRPT did not alter the beneficial lipid effects of ERN. LRPT plus ERN was well tolerated. In conclusion, the significant reduction in ERN-induced flushing provided by LRPT plus ERN supports an accelerated ERN dose-advancement paradigm to achieve rapidly a 2-g dose in dyslipidemic patients.

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