Q. Recently I heard a suggestion that niacin would be better and cheaper than Vytorin for lowering cholesterol. I know there has not been an extensive study on this. I exercise and watch my diet pretty well and wonder if I might be better off on niacin. Would I need a prescription?
A. The study you heard about was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on November 26, 2009. Niacin was compared to ezetimibe (Zetia), one part of the combination medicine Vytorin. All 200 of the patients in the completed study took a statin cholesterol-lowering drug, but some took prescription niacin and others took Zetia in addition. Niacin worked better than Zetia for cardiovascular health.
Niacin has more than 50 years of successful use against high cholesterol. We discuss the benefits and risks of niacin along with other drugs and natural approaches in our Guide to Cholesterol Control and Heart Health. Although niacin can be purchased without a prescription, we believe it should only be used under medical supervision.
The photo shows a high-fat, high-cholesterol meal and should not be construed as a recommendation.

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  1. BF
    Reply

    I have IBS and just started taking Niacin (100 mg) for cholesterol. Now am having the runs almost daily. Is there any known correlation between niacin and diarrhea?

  2. Jean
    Reply

    I have found that WALNUTS work very good at lowering cholesterol, I buy the unsalted one’s, a handful a day is enough…had my bloodwork done then started on thw walnut’s, my number dropped 30 point’s!!
    It work’s for me!

  3. RRB, Long
    Reply

    I am a 66-year-old male. I have been taking niacin for almost five years now, with wonderful results on my cholesterol and triglycerides. All the numbers have gone in the right directions, by 25% to 35%. Right now, my total cholesterol is 163, HDL is 56, LDL is 96 and trigs are 57. I don’t worry much about diet, but i get about three hours a week of intense cardio conditioning.
    I take 5,000 mgs a day (2,500 in the morning, 2,500 at night). I use the Costco niacin. I worked up gradually and now the flushing is just a very slight tingling.
    If you have not given this regime a try, I would urge you to do so. And the Mayo Clinic has some very good research on the topic. Check it out.

  4. Elizabeth C.
    Reply

    I am currently using Simvastatin, 20 mg. I will not take higher dose because of muscle aches, also I use 2 ea, 500 Niacin non-flush Nature’s Bounty in the evening, chol is 210, hdl/60/ldl is 98.4 and triglycerides are 263 which overwhelms my Dr. I do not wish a higher dose statin, or vytorin, I try to watch fats but have a penchant on occasion for sweets. I am starting to exercise again, stopped due to a fling with vertigo. help!!
    People’s Pharmacy Response: THE SWEETS ARE PROBABLY MORE OF A PROBLEM THAN FATS FOR TRIGLYCERIDES. CUT OUT WHITE BREAD, PIZZA, BAGELS, PANCAKES, COOKIES, CAKES ETC FOR 6 WEEKS AND SEE HOW YOUR TRIGLYCERIDES RESPOND.

  5. Don W.
    Reply

    I am a 45 year old male who began taking statins 10 years ago once it was discovered that my cholesterol was 394. Even with the statins and a more careful diet my cholesterol was still consistently high at 240 to 260. During the the last 2 years I began adding Niacin to my Vytorin with great success. My extreme cholesterol problem is now under control thanks to the information I found and heard on the Peoples Pharmacy.
    Before beginning this regimen I ask my doctor about his opinion of Niacin, he was not overly positive with the proposed attempt. Silly doctor.
    Thank you Peoples Pharmacy.

  6. John O
    Reply

    I’ve been using Niacin for a few years. My cholesterol was high and triglycerides off the chart. I was first prescribed a statin but my body/muscles hurt like crazy and, along with a bad back, I had to limp into the walk-in clinic about twice a year for shot of Demerol to break the pain/spasm cycle.
    A different Doc took me off the statin and on to niacin. I did’t enjoy the flushing so changed to a no-flush niacin: Niacin (from inositol hexanicotinate)1000mg with Inositol (from inositol hexanicotinate) 250mg. On the internet the majority of comments indicated that this form is as effective as the Rx type. But my blood results are terrific now.

  7. Michelle H.
    Reply

    I’ve been using niacin for nearly twenty years. As recommended at this web site, you need to talk to your physician before starting.
    I take it twice a day and take it with 1/2 81mg Aspirin (helps control the flushing). The last time I had labs, my total cholesterol was 201 and HDL was 94. (I also exercise.)
    Although niacin is not a completely safe drug, as an RN, I feel that it’s much better than one of the statins.

  8. JB
    Reply

    For lowering cholesterol, I have found that red yeast rice with CO Q10, taken twice a day keeps my cholesterol within normal limits. One a day did not do it, but twice a day works for me. Have been on this for years with my Dr.’s approval.

  9. J C
    Reply

    SLO-NIACIN WORKS GOOD FOR HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES TOO. HAVE NORMAL CHOLESTEROL AND HAD HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES BEFORE TAKING SLO-NIACIN.

  10. dwd
    Reply

    Both my cardiologist and electro-phisiologist maintain Niaspan is superior to Slo-Niacin. Niaspan is expensive when on 1500 mg since it only comes in 500, 750, and 1000 mg. 750 mg took my hdl from 32 to 48 and 1500 took it to 59, but 1500 costs twice as much since it takes two pills.
    Even slo-niacin is not cheap, but is cheaper than Niaspan. Do you have any information on how effectiveness and side effects of Niaspan versus SloNiacin?

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