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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

For as long as I can remember, I have always used Puritan's Pride immediate-release niacin. Each tablet is 250mg, and I take one four times a day. I give it much credit for significantly higher HDL levels, and I see no reason to change to other brands. Immediate-release niacin is best used to increase HDL.

Sustained-release niacin, such as Niaspan, is probably best used by people who mainly want to lower their LDL. However, sustained-release niacin carries more of a risk because it is harder on the liver. A few people on this board have reported beneficial results with Enduracin, a sustained-release niacin which is available without a prescription.

Flushing is quite common, especially when you first begin taking niacin. For most people, it should not be too much of a problem. As Lenin said, it's better to start at a low dose, and gradually increase it. In time, you should experience less and less flushing, and quite often you may not experience any flushing at all, especially if it is taken with food. With most people, it should not remain much of a problem with continued use.

I have never heard anyone complaining about muscle aches from using niacin.
Be on the lookout for the worst case scenario: angio-edema. If your lips and tongue start to swell, take a couple benadryl IMMEDIATELY... If your throat starts closing call 911 STAT! Consider that as pretty much your endpoint with niacin experimentation.

I agree with ARIZONA; if you are going to take it, take the immediate release which is plain vanilla niacin!

I have a sneaking hunch that the BENEFIT and the FLUSH go hand in hand...unfortunately!
When I take ordinary immediate-release niacin day after day, any flushing that I experience is rather minimal. Many times I feel nothing. However, I noticed that if I stop the niacin for just two or three days and take the flush-free (inositol hexanicotinate) form, and then resume taking the immediate-release niacin, the degree of flushing will be more intense for the first day or so. After that, I'm back to normal again. Strange. I wonder why that is.
Hi JJ, I'm one of those on the board taking Niacin, too. I take Enduracin, a sustained release form, which can be ordered online. I tried an immediate release niacin once years ago, and just hated the flushing, so chose to go with one which might have a slightly higher risk but which I could tolerate.

I've had good success, getting my TC down to 190 from 247 with it, even though I'm only taking 750 mg. daily (divided dose, 250 mg 3x daily with meals). My HDL went up from 62 to 72 in this time period, also. Of course, it is possible that not all the change is a result of the niacin, since I've also added 3 grams of fish oil or flax oil daily, now take a phytosterol pill before eating eggs or shrimp, and may have made some additional dietary changes since I started. (My diet was quite good before I started.) I expect, though, that most of the change was a result of the niacin.

The research on Enduracin at both the U. of Minn. and Harvard shows a high level of safety. Nonetheless, I believe in being cautious, so I do have my liver enzymes checked. I also believe in taking no higher a dose than is necessary to do the job, as a lower dose means lower risk. I started out taking just 250 mg daily for a few months. That got my TC down to 220 and my liver enzymes were virtually unchanged, so the doctor said to go ahead and increase the niacin to 500 mg daily. That got the TC down to 202 after about six months, at which point my doctor advised increasing the niacin to my current 750 mg.

While my doctor was initially reluctant to have me try an OTC sustained-release niacin, she was so happy with the results that she asked me for information on where to get it so she can recommend it to her other patients. For someone who has no prescription coverage, the price is right. It costs me less than five dollars a month. Of course, one must accept that the cost of a regular blood test is part of the "cost of the medication," too.

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