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High Cholesterol Message Board


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Niaspan vs. Niacin
Jul 13, 2006
Trying to raise my HDL levels naturally and wondered if anyone knows the active ingredient(s) in the prescription drug Niaspan.
It looks like the mnaufacturer is trying to scare me from taking my over the counter non-flushing niacin (inositol hexanicotinate) by using the 'ole FDA
scare tactics.

"According to the American Heart Association (AHA), dietary supplement niacin may “contain widely variable amounts of niacin—from none to much more than the label states.” AHA states that “Dietary supplement niacin must not be used as a substitute for prescription niacin. It should not be used for cholesterol lowering because of potentially very serious side effects.”

I have started by taking one 500 mg. cap in the a.m. and one before bedtime.
[QUOTE=Mr. Detail]Trying to raise my HDL levels naturally and wondered if anyone knows the active ingredient(s) in the prescription drug Niaspan.
It looks like the mnaufacturer is trying to scare me from taking my over the counter non-flushing niacin (inositol hexanicotinate) by using the 'ole FDA
scare tactics.

"According to the American Heart Association (AHA), dietary supplement niacin may “contain widely variable amounts of niacin—from none to much more than the label states.” AHA states that “Dietary supplement niacin must not be used as a substitute for prescription niacin. It should not be used for cholesterol lowering because of potentially very serious side effects.”

I have started by taking one 500 mg. cap in the a.m. and one before bedtime.[/QUOTE]

Mr. Detail, when I could not take the statins I turned to the NO Flush Niacin, I told my doctor and he said that was okay and that he in the past used Niacin all the time to reduce cholesterol and raise the HDL and got good results and it wasn't until statins came out that they were advised to switch and he did but as of late he is back to prescribing Niacin again to several patients a week. Not all can take statins. I took 1000 mg of no Flush and I took One a Day Cholesterol Plus with 10 mg of Policosanol and the last time I had my cholesterol checked it had come down 40 points. I have increased my niacin to the 1500 mg that the doctor first recommended and I also take two of the One a Day. I will see what that has done when I get my next check. One thing that you can do is be sure that your niacin is "standardized" which means it has been checked and has the amount in the pill that they say it has. My HDL was in the 50's then and I will see if it has increased it even more. I buy my "NO Flush Niacin from the Puritan's Pride Co. when they have the 2 for the price of one and it is so reasonable. I often think I might get better results if I had some kind of excercise program but I am not good about sticking to any kind of formal excercise, I am a gardening nut and work myself till exhausted on some days and then am lazy on others (heavy sigh).:rolleyes:
GardeningGal;
Thanks so much for your detailed response. I haven't gotten to the point of taking a statin yet but it seems everyone (doctor, my wife) wants me to go on a statin. I have always been against Big pharma and the push today for an easy solution (prescription drug) for all of our maladies.
I have just started doing a cardio workout 3 times a week here at work duitng lunch where they have a nice fitness center with an elliptical trainer.
Hopefully that will help my numbers the next time I get bloodwork done. I will give it some time (6 months) to take effect. Maybe with the niacin and some other supplements I can bring my numbers down and raise my HDL without heading down the statin highway. Thank you too for the good tip on the "standardized" type of niacin and the place to buy it. My HDL was recently a whopping 36 so I must get that up higher. Thanks again!
My doctor, too, tried to push statins when my cholesterol was up, but I chose to use Enduracin, a sustained-release OTC niacin instead. I've had no problems with liver enzyme elevation whatsoever in the 38 months I've been on it. I've only been taking 750 mg, though. Before I started it my numbers were TC 247, LDL 158, HDL 62, trigs 133. With dietary change, fish oil and niacin, I brought this down to TC 190, LDL 101, HDL 72, trigs 87. My niacin costs me about five dollars a month, approximately one-tenth what the prescription medication would cost.

As I see it, the biggest problem with using OTC niacin is that, since people can buy it without a prescription, many will forego having regular liver enzyme tests. From what I've read, it appears that doctors typically order such a test three months after starting niacin and three months after any increase in dosage, then every six months thereafter. So people taking niacin should definitely let their doctors know they are taking it and remind them to order the appropriate tests if the doctor happens to forget. With regular tests, even if they do have a problem with the brand of niacin they take, they should be able to catch it in time before serious damage was done, I would think. (But I'm not a doctor!)





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