Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2011 Dec;32(12):700-7. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Nicotinic acid (niacin): new lipid-independent mechanisms of action and therapeutic potentials.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Ludwigstrasse 43, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany.


Nicotinic acid (niacin) has been used for decades to prevent and treat atherosclerosis. The well-documented antiatherogenic activity is believed to result from its antidyslipidemic effects, which are accompanied by unwanted effects, especially a flush. There has been renewed interest in nicotinic acid owing to the need for improved prevention of atherosclerosis in patients already taking statins. In addition, the identification of a nicotinic acid receptor expressed in adipocytes and immune cells has helped to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the antiatherosclerotic as well as the unwanted effects of this drug. Nicotinic acid exerts its antiatherosclerotic effects at least in part independently of its antidyslipidemic effects through mechanisms involving its receptor on immune cells as well as through direct and indirect effects on the vascular endothelium. Here, we review recent data on the pharmacological effects of nicotinic acid and discuss how they might be harnessed to treat other inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis or psoriasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center