The prescription drug Niaspan can be used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high levels. This medication can also lower the chances of another heart attack in people with a history of heart attack and high cholesterol. Niaspan comes in tablet form and is typically taken once a day. Possible side effects include diarrhea, headache, and flushing of the face and neck.
What Is Niaspan?Niaspan® (niacin extended-release) is a prescription medication that can be used to reduce triglyceride (a fat-like substance) and cholesterol levels in the body. Lowering the amount of these substances may help to prevent conditions such as heart disease, angina (chest pain), a stroke, or a heart attack. The medication should be used in combination with diet and exercise.
- Lowering cholesterol levels in people with hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). Niaspan can reduce total cholesterol, LDL ("bad" cholesterol), apo B (a component of cholesterol that is related to several heart disease risk factors), and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein cholesterol). It also raises HDL ("good" cholesterol).
- Lowering triglycerides in people with hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels). Very high triglyceride levels in the body increase the risk of developing a condition known as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
- Lowering triglycerides or cholesterol levels in people who are already taking another cholesterol medication, such as statins or bile acid sequestrants (e.g., cholestyramine, colestipol, colesevelam).
- Decreasing the chances of another heart attack in people who have a history of both a heart attack and high cholesterol.
- When combined with a bile acid sequestrant, slowing the progression of atherosclerosis (narrowing or hardening of the arteries) in people with a history of coronary artery disease (CAD) and high cholesterol.