Since no studies have been performed on high doses of niacin and pregnancy, it is not known if high doses of the vitamin can cause problems in a pregnant woman or her child. A low dosage, such as 35 mg daily (the recommended dietary allowance for pregnant adults), is considered to be safe. If you are taking niacin and pregnancy occurs, notify your healthcare provider.
Using Niacin During Pregnancy: An Overview
Niacin (brand names include Niacor®, Niaspan®, Slo-Niacin®, and several others) belongs to the "B" group of vitamins. It is sometimes known as vitamin B3. A normal dietary intake of niacin through a well-rounded diet is considered both safe and healthy for pregnant women. The small dose of niacin found in prenatal vitamins is also considered to be safe. However, it is not clear if large doses (such as the niacin dosage used to improve cholesterol) are safe for use during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Category C
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been adequately studied in pregnant humans but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Niacin (at high doses) has not been studied in pregnant animals or humans. It is unknown if it could cause problems for a pregnant woman or the fetus. A lower niacin dose, such as 35 mg a day, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for pregnant adults, is considered safe.
It is generally recommended that women taking niacin for low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol should stop high-dose niacin therapy if they become pregnant. Women who take high-dose niacin for high triglycerides might need to keep taking niacin, as pregnancy can worsen high triglycerides and can increase the risk of pancreatitis due to high triglycerides. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you should keep taking niacin or not.
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