IMPORTANT NOTE: The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.
Niacin Oral Uses
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is used to prevent and treat niacin deficiency (pellagra). Niacin deficiency may result from certain medical conditions (e.g., alcohol abuse, malabsorption syndrome, Hartnup disease), poor diet, or long-term use of certain medications (e.g., isoniazid).
Niacin deficiency can cause diarrhea, confusion (dementia), tongue redness/swelling, and peeling red skin. Niacin is also known as vitamin B3 , one of the B-complex vitamins. Vitamins help to support the body's ability to make and break down natural compounds (metabolism) needed for good health. Niacinamide (nicotinamide) is a different form of vitamin B3 and does not work the same as niacin. Do not substitute unless directed by your doctor.
How To Use Niacin Oral
See also Drug Interactions section.
Take this medication by mouth with food, usually once or twice a day or as directed by your doctor. Taking niacin on an empty stomach increases side effects (e.g., flushing, upset stomach). Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Niacin is available in different formulations (e.g., immediate, extended-release). If your doctor has prescribed niacin, do not switch strengths, brands, or forms because doing so may increase the risk of severe liver problems.
Swallow extended-release capsules whole. Do not crush or chew extended-release capsules or tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
To prevent flushing, do not take this medication with alcohol or hot drinks. Taking a plain (non-enteric-coated, 325-milligram) aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (e.g., ibuprofen) 30 minutes before taking niacin may help prevent flushing. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for specific directions on aspirin/NSAID use before starting your niacin treatment to make sure it is right for you, especially if you are also using "blood thinners" (anticoagulants such as warfarin or heparins).
If you also take certain other drugs to lower blood fats (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take niacin at least 6 hours before or after taking these medications. These products interact with niacin, preventing its full absorption. Continue to take other medications to lower your cholesterol as directed by your doctor.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Follow the directions on the label or your doctor's instructions carefully. If you are taking this for lipid problems, your doctor will start you at a low dose and gradually increase your dose in order to minimize side effects. Your dose will need to be increased slowly even if you are already taking niacin and are being switched from another niacin product to this product. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
Information last revised October 2010 Copyright(c) 2010 First DataBank, Inc.