Cholesterol Treatment

Niacin and cholesterol

Your doctor would usually prescribe you drugs containing Niacin or nicotinic acids to lower the high cholesterol. It helps you lower the total amount of ‘bad cholesterol’ while raising the level of ‘good cholesterol.’ It decreases LDL levels (bad cholesterol) by up to 20 % in your body while raises HDL levels (good cholesterol) up to 35 %.

Basically, two types of nicotinic acids are found in our body: time release and immediate release. Your doctor would inform you as to which would suit you the best.

You can get nicotinic acid without prescription but it is always better to consult a physician before taking it. The doctor can warn you about the possible side effects like skin pigmentation, migraines, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, night sweats and flushing and decreased glucose tolerance.

Nicotinamide is yet another form of niacin acid but it should not be used instead of nicotinic acid as it does not lower your cholesterol level. Your lipid specialist can suggest you as to what type of niacin would suit you the best.

Usually patients taking niacin for high cholesterol are closely monitored by their physicians to avoid any kind of side effects and serious complications like high blood sugar and liver problems. Also, one should always start with small doses of niacin which can increase in amount with time to a dose of 3 grams per day. For higher doses, it is advised to follow the prescription strictly.

If you are taking it OTC, read and follow the instructions written over the medicine. It should be taken at bedtime and on full stomach. You also need to make it sure that it does not interfere with any other medication that you may be taking.

Niacin can be taken alone or with other cholesterol control medicines like statin drug and prescription cholesterol medication like Niaspan® and Nicolar® which include other vitamins and minerals for proper fat and cholesterol metabolism. Niacin significantly reduces the level of triglycerides and fats that are harmful. However, the mechanism by which nicotinic acid works is not completely known.