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The following is taken from one of the Niaspan patents. This is a quote.


In brief, the present invention alleviates and overcomes certain of the above-identified problems and shortcomings of the present state of nicotinic acid therapy through the discovery of novel nicotinic acid formulations and methods of treatment.

Generally speaking, novel nicotinic acid formulations have been discovered that optimize blood levels of nicotinic acid over a period of about 5 to about 9 hours when administered as a single oral dose for achieving a balanced lipid alteration in individuals at a time when the rate of serum lipids, lipoproteins, cholesterol and cholesterol precursor biosynthesis is believed to be at its highest. In other words, the novel nicotinic acid formulations have been uniquely formulated for administration as a single dose, preferably during the evening or at night when the nicotinic acid levels subsequently achieved are effective for substantially lowering the levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and/or Lp(a) as well as raising the levels of HDL particles, all of which are primary nocturnally synthesized. Preferably, the nicotinic acid formulations are administered at or after an evening meal or low fat snack but before bedtime, i.e., between about 6 pm and 12 am, preferably between about 8 pm and 12 am, and most preferably between about 8pm and 10 pm.

The amount of nicotinic acid that is administered is effective to substantially lower at least one serum lipid, such as total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and/or Lp(a) and elevated HDL,, without causing drug-induced hepatotoxicity to levels which would require the therapy to be discontinued. In other words, a single 1 to 3 gram dose of a nicotinic acid formulation of the present invention administered between about 6 pm and 12 am is believed to be as effective as an equal or higher daily dosage of nicotinic acid administered in two to four divided doses between, e.g., 8 am and 8 pm.

Furthermore, because at least the majority of the nicotinic acid is released and metabolized in vivo during a limited predetermined period of time of about 5 to about 9 hours, the liver is not being exposed to constant levels of nicotinic acid which results during the administration of long-term, spaced daily doses of SR nicotinic acid. Thus, it is believed that the nicotinic acid formulations of the present invention are unlikely to cause individuals to develop dose-limiting hepatotoxicity when used as a single daily dose administered in a therapeutic amount.

The nicotinic acid formulations in accordance with the present invention have been uniquely designed as intermediate release formulations which can be characterized by one or more of the following biopharmaceutic characteristics: (1) an in vivo stair-stepped or sigmoidal-shaped absorption profile when the plasma nicotinic acid or NUA data is deconvoluted using the Wagner-Nelson method; (2) an in vitro dissolution profile; (3) a fit factor F.sub.2 ; (4) urine metabolite recovery; (5) AUC; (6) Cmax; and/or (7) Tmax. By the term "intermediate release," it is used herein to characterize the nicotinic acid formulations of the present invention which release their medication in vitro or in vivo over a period of time which is greater than about 1 to 2 hours, i.e., slower that IR niacin, but less than about 10 to 24 hours, i.e., faster than SR niacin.

It is therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a composition of nicotinic acid or any compound which is metabolized by the body to form nicotinic acid for treating hyperlipidemia.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a composition as above, which as a time release sustaining characteristic.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a method for employing a composition as above, for treating hyperlipidemia, which results in little or no liver damage.

Arizona, here is some useful background information.


Nicotinic acid, 3-pyridinecarboxylic acid or niacin, is an antilipidemic agent that is marketed under, for example, the trade names Nicolar.RTM., SloNiacin.RTM., Nicobid.RTM. and Time Release Niacin.RTM.. Nicotinic acid has been used for many years in the treatment of lipidemic disorders such as hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. This compound has long been known to exhibit the beneficial effects of reducing total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins or "LDL cholesterol," triglycerides and apolipoprotein a (Lp(a)) in the human body, while increasing desirable high density lipoproteins or "HDL cholesterol".

Typical doses range from about 1 gram to about 3 grams daily. Nicotinic acid is normally administered two to four times per day after meals, depending upon the dosage form selected. Nicotinic acid is currently commercially available in two dosage forms. One dosage form is an immediate or rapid release tablet which should be administered three or four times per day. immediate release ("IR") nicotinic acid formulations generally release nearly all of their nicotinic acid within about 30 to 60 minutes following ingestion, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The other dosage form is a sustained release form which is suitable for administration two to four times per day. See, however, U.S. Pat. No. 5,126,145 issued to O'Neill. In contrast to IR formulations, sustained release ("SR") nicotinic acid formulations are designed to release significant quantities of drug for absorption into the blood stream over specific timed intervals, also as shown in FIG. 1. If the release occurs at appropriate times, therapeutic levels will be maintained by SR nicotinic acid formulations over an extended period such as 12 or 24 hours after ingestion.

The dosing regimen of IR nicotinic acid is known to provide a very beneficial effect on blood lipids as discussed in Knopp et al.; "Contrasting Effects of Unmodified and Time-Release Forms of Niacin on Lipoproteins in Hyperlipidemic Subjects: Clues to Mechanism of Action of Niacin"; Metabolism 34/7, 1985, page 647. The chief advantage of this profile is the ability of IR nicotinic acid to decrease total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and Lp(a) while increasing "HDL" particles. In fact, IR nicotinic acid has been well regarded as an effective drug in the treatment of high cholesterol since about the early 1960s. Unfortunately, IR nicotinic acid has never really become widely used because of the high incidence of flush that often occurs when an IR dose is taken. That means an individual may develop a visible, uncomfortable, hot or flushed feeling three or four times a day for about one hour following each IR dose.

In order to avoid or reduce the cutaneous flushing, a number of materials have been suggested for administration with an effective antihyperlipidemic amount of immediate release nicotinic acid, including guar gum in U.S. Pat. No. 4,956,252, and mineral salts as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,023,245; or inorganic magnesium salts as reported in U.S. Pat. No. 4,911,917. These materials have been reported to avoid or reduce the cutaneous flushing side effect commonly associated with nicotinic acid treatment.

Another method of avoiding or reducing the side effects associated with immediate release nicotinic acid is the use of SR nicotinic acid formulations. SR nicotinic acid formulations are designed to slowly release the compound from the tablet or capsule. The slow drug release reduces and prolongs blood levels of drug in an attempt to lower peak nicotinic acid concentrations with the goal of reducing or eliminating nicotinic acid induced flush. Examples of currently marketed SR formulations of nicotinic acid include Nicobid.RTM. capsules (Rhone-Poulenc Rorer), Enduracin.RTM. (Innovative Corporation) and SloNiacin.RTM. (Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., U.S. Pat. No. 5,126,145, which describes a sustained release niacin formulation containing two different types of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and a hydrophobic component).

Studies in hyperlipidemic patients have been conducted with a number of SR nicotinic acid products. These studies have demonstrated that the sustained release products do not have the same advantageous lipid altering effects as IR nicotinic acid, and in fact often have a worse side effect profile compared to the IR products. The major disadvantage of the SR formulations, as can be seen in Knopp et al., in 1985, is the significantly lower reduction in triglycerides (-2% for the sustained versus -38% for the immediate release) and lower increase in HDL cholesterol, represented as HDL2 particles which are known by the art to be most beneficial, (-5% for the sustained release versus +37/% for the immediate release).

Additionally, SR nicotinic acid formulations have been noted as causing greater incidences of liver toxicity as described in Henken et al.: Am J Med, 91:1991 (1991) and Dalton et al.: Am J Med, 93:102 (1992). There is also great concern regarding the potential of these formulations in disrupting glucose metabolism and uric acid levels.

In a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, an article appeared which presented research results investigating the liver toxicity problems associated with an SR form of nicotinic acid. See McKenney et al.: A Comparison of the Efficacy and Toxic Effects of Sustained- vs. Immediate-Release Niacin in Hypercholesterolemic Patients, JAMA, (271)9: 672 (Mar. 2, 1994). This McKenney et al. article presented a study of twenty-three patients. Of that number, 18 or 78 percent were forced to withdraw because liver function tests (FTs) increased indicating potential liver damage. The conclusion of the authors of that article was that the SR form of nicotinic acid "should be restricted from use."

A similar conclusion was reached in an article authored by representatives of the Food and Drug Administration. See Radar, et al.: Hepatic Toxicity of Unmodified and Time-Release Preparations of Niacin, JAMA, 92:77 (January 1992). Because of these studies and similar conclusions drawn by other health care professionals, the sustained release forms of nicotinic acid have experienced limited utilization.

Here is the link for the entire patent.



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