Niaspan alternatives include fibrates like Antara and Triglide, cholesterol absorption inhibitors like Zetia, and bile acid sequestrants such as WelChol, Prevalite, and Questran. A few factors that can affect which medication your doctor prescribes include your cholesterol levels, heart disease risk factors, and other medical conditions you may have.
Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for lowering cholesterol. However, for some people, treating high cholesterol with a low-cholesterol diet, weight control, and exercise is not enough. If lifestyle changes alone are not enough, your doctor can prescribe medications. One such medicine is Niaspan® (niacin extended-release). For most people, Niaspan is quite effective at lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also generally well-tolerated. But Niaspan side effects can occur and people may wish to consider an alternative to Niaspan. These alternatives could include other niacin medicines as well as other cholesterol medicines.
Niaspan is the extended-release form of the B-complex vitamin niacin. It is believed to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels by increasing the activity of an enzyme known as lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme breaks down triglyceride-rich particles (VLDL) and increases their removal from the body. It is also thought to decrease the amount of these particles produced in and released from the liver. Depending on the type of cholesterol problem you have, Niaspan also:
- Increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- Decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.
In addition to Niaspan, there are other niacin preparations available as either an immediate-release or extended-release form. Some of these include:
- Nicotinic acid
Although some preparations of Niacin are available over the counter, you should not to switch types of Niacin without first talking with your healthcare provider.