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Niacin (By mouth)

Treats high cholesterol and triglyceride levels and niacin deficiency. Also reduces heart attack risk and slows narrowing of the arteries.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Niacin is used alone or with other medicines to treat high cholesterol and triglyceride (fat-like substances) levels in the blood. This may help prevent the development of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and other problems caused by high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Niacin is also used to help lower risk of heart attack in patients with a history of heart… Read more
Brand names include
GNC Niacin 250, GNC Niacinamide 100, Nature's Blend Niacin, Niacinol, Niacor, Niaspan, Nicotinex, PharmAssure Niacin, Slo-Niacin
Drug classes About this
Antihyperlipidemic, Nutriceutical, Nutritive Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Niacin for people with or without established cardiovascular disease

We reviewed the evidence about the effects of niacin for the prevention of death and cardiovascular disease.

Benefits and harm of niacin and its analog for renal dialysis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

PURPOSE: Clinical trials have shown that niacin and its analog, niacinamide, significantly reduce serum phosphate in patients undergoing dialysis. This review aimed to assess the benefits and harm of niacin and niacinamide in renal dialysis patients.

Effect of niacin on endothelial function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Endothelial dysfunction is an independent predictor of incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD). Niacin possesses high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-elevating, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, all potentially contributing to the amelioration of endothelial function. However, controversies exist among trials reporting the effects of niacin on endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD) as a reliable surrogate of endothelial function. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of niacin on brachial artery FMD using a meta-analysis of available evidence. MEDLINE and Scopus databases were searched for randomized controlled trials investigating the impact of niacin therapy on brachial artery FMD. Meta-analysis of eligible studies was conducted using a random-effects model. Pooled effects were measured by weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Quality assessment, and subgroup, meta-regression and sensitivity analyses were conducted using standard methods. Among 596 citations, 19 full-text articles were read and seven were found to be eligible for inclusion. Eligible studies involved 441 subjects comprising 228 in the niacin and 213 in the control groups. Niacin therapy significantly improved FMD (WMD: 1.98%; 95% CI: 0.91-3.05%; p = 0.0003) and this effect was robust in the sensitivity analysis. The effect size was greater in the subgroup of studies administering higher doses of niacin (≥ 2000 mg/day) as well as those studies administering niacin for primary prevention of ACVD. Meta-regression indicated no association between niacin-induced changes in FMD and changes in plasma HDL-cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol or triglycerides. None of the included studies could find any significant effect of niacin on nitroglycerin-mediated dilation. In conclusion, treatment with niacin improves endothelial function.

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Summaries for consumers

Niacin for people with or without established cardiovascular disease

We reviewed the evidence about the effects of niacin for the prevention of death and cardiovascular disease.

Comparing Statins and Combination Drugs

How do statins and combination drugs compare in lowering "bad" cholesterol (LDL-c)?

Gerson Therapy (PDQ®): Patient Version

Gerson therapy is a complex regimen that has been used to treat people with cancer and other diseases. It includes a strict diet, dietary supplements, and enemas. No results of laboratory or animal studies have been published in scientific journals. Learn more in this expert-reviewed summary.

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