Niaspan(Niacin Extended Release, Niacin ER)
Niaspan Helps Treat the Following Conditions:
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all the cells of the body. While the body produces it naturally, it is also present in some foods.
It is necessary for healthy heart function, however high levels of the so-called bad cholesterol – triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – and low levels of good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Marketed Internationally as Niaspan FCT
In some countries, Niaspan is sold under the brand name Niaspan FCT
Niaspan Active Ingredient
Generic Niaspan Alternative: Niacin ER
Niaspan contains the active ingredient niacin, also known as vitamin B3. It helps to reduce levels of bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
Patients have a choice of buying brand name Niaspan or generic alternatives. A number of safe, affordable generic alternatives to Niaspan are available through our international online pharmacy.
General Drug Information
What is Niaspan and What Is It Used For?
Niaspan is prescribed to patients who have been unsuccessful in lowering so-called “bad cholesterol” – like low-density cholesterol and triglycerides – by means of diet and other non-drug treatments. It contains the active ingredient niacin, also known as vitamin B3.
Together with lifestyle changes such as healthy diet and exercise, Niaspan is used to lower bad cholesterol and increase levels of good cholesterol in blood. This helps to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Losing weight and quitting smoking can also help patients lower bad cholesterol and reduce heart disease and stroke risk.
Usage and Application
Niaspan and its generic alternatives should be taken as prescribed by a patient’s doctor, and the dosage depends on the patient’s condition and response to treatment.
The medication should be taken by mouth with a low-fat meal or snack, usually at bedtime. It is not recommended to take this medication on an empty stomach as this increases side effects like flushing or upset stomach.
Tablets should be swallowed whole. Patients should not crush or chew the tablets as doing so may cause all of the drug to release at once, potentially causing negative side effects. Tablets should not be split unless patients have been directed to do so by their physician or pharmacist and are using a scoreline.
This medication is available in different formulations, depending on the speed of release. Patients should not switch between brands or strengths as doing so may cause severe liver problems.
To reduce the risk of side effects, some patients may start this medication at a low dose, gradually increasing it. Patient’s should follow their doctor’s instructions carefully.
Niaspan needs to be taken up to six hours before other drugs to lower cholesterol, such as bile acid-binding resins cholestyramine or colestipol. These drugs can react with Niaspan, preventing its full absorption.
This medication may cause flushing in some patients. Avoiding alcohol, hot drinks, and spicy food near the time of taking Niaspan can help to avoid this problem. To prevent flushing, patients can also take aspirin, or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen, 30 minutes before taking Niaspan.
It is necessary to use this medication regularly in order to experience its full benefit. To reduce the risk of forgetting, patients are advised to take the medication at the same time each day. Patients should continue taking this medication even if they feel well.
Patients should not stop taking this drug suddenly or without consulting with their doctor. The correct way to stop this medication is to decrease dosage gradually, under doctor supervision. Patients who have not taken this medication for more than seven days need to speak with their physician.
Considerations Before Taking Niaspan
Patients need to discuss the possibility of allergic reactions to Niaspan and its generic alternatives before starting treatment.
It is vital to discuss the patient’s medical history, especially low blood pressure, bleeding problems, diabetes, gallbladder, liver or kidney disease. The treating physician should be made aware if the patient has had a recent heart attack or suffers from unstable angina, gout, glaucoma or hypothyroidism. Alcohol use, untreated mineral imbalances and a history of stomach ulcers are additional risk factors that also need to be discussed.
Niaspan can make patients dizzy or drowsy, therefore it is not advisable to drive, use machinery or perform other tasks requiring alertness until the effects of the medication are known. Patients should limit alcohol and talk to their doctor if they are marijuana users.
Patients preparing for surgery or certain dental procedures should inform their doctor or dentist about all medicines, supplements and herbal products they are taking.
In rare cases, this medicine may increase blood sugar levels. This can affect diabetic patients who should check blood sugar regularly and share results with their doctor. Diabetic patients need to contact their doctor in the event they experience increased thirst or urination as this may signal the need to adjust medication, diet or exercise regime.
Women who are pregnant – or planning on becoming pregnant – should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor. Niaspan should only be used when clearly needed during pregnancy. This medication passes into breast milk.
Delayed and Omitted Doses
Patients who miss a dose of Niaspan should take it as soon as they remember. If this happens near the time of the next dose, patients should skip the missed dose and proceed as usual. Patients should not double up the dose in order to catch up.
Other Medications and Niaspan
Drug interactions may change the way Niaspan or its generic alternatives work, and can increase the risk of side effects. Before starting treatment, patients need to discuss the full list of medications and supplements they are taking with their doctor. Patients should not change their dose or stop taking this medication unless their physician advises them to do so.
Some blood thinners like Coumadin and acenocoumarol may interact negatively with Niaspan.
Vitamins and dietary supplements may contain nicotinamide or niacin, the active ingredient in Niaspan. Taking them together with this medication may increase the risk of negative side effects. Patients should check all labels of prescription medicines and over-the-counter supplements.
Niaspan may interfere with certain laboratory tests, producing false test results. Patients should alert their doctor and laboratory personnel to the fact they are taking this medication.
Most patients are able to take Niaspan safely without serious side effects.
Some patients may experience flushing of the face and neck, headache, itching, burning, sweating, chills or tingling. These symptoms may occur up to four hours after taking the medication and should improve or go away as the body adjusts. Dizziness, upset stomach, heartburn, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur.
To reduce the risk of dizziness, patients should get up slowly from a sitting or lying position. This is very important for people who are also taking medications to lower blood pressure.
Serious side effects include severe dizziness or fainting, irregular heartbeat, migraine, unusual joint pain, and swelling of the legs or arms. Additional symptoms include vision problems, severe stomach pain, black stools, easy bruising, and unexplained muscle pain or weakness.
Patients may also experience persistent nausea, signs of kidney problems like changes in the amount of urine, as well as dark urine, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, or yellowing of the eyes and skin. Patients should seek immediate medical assistance in the event they experience any of the above symptoms.
Serious allergic reactions to Niacin are rare, yet patients should be aware of allergy symptoms such as rash, itching and swelling, severe dizziness and trouble breathing.
How to Store Niaspan
Niaspan should be stored at room temperature away from light or moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep away from children and pets.
Unwanted medication should be disposed of properly and should not be poured into drains or flushed down the toilet. Patients should consult a pharmacist or their local waste disposal company to find out more about safe disposal methods.
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