Niacin heart trial stopped early due to lack of benefit
May 26th, 2011
02:06 PM ET

Niacin heart trial stopped early due to lack of benefit

A government trial using niacin to raise good cholesterol levels ended early when patients failed to get the expected protection against heart attack and stroke. A small number of patients actually had in increase in stroke.

The AIM-HIGH study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recruited 3,400 patients who were at risk for heart trouble despite the fact that their bad cholesterol was under control with the use of a statin drug. The trial aimed to show that by giving patients the B vitamin niacin plus a statin drug to lower their bad cholesterol, patients might have fewer heart complications. But the study ended 18 months early because there was no additional cardiovascular benefit in those taking niacin.

There are 2 types of cholesterol, the bad form, or LDL, and the beneficial kind, or HDL. When people have high LDL levels that puts them at increased risk for health problems.  When bad cholesterol builds up on the walls of blood vessels it can cause them to narrow and, in some cases, lead to heart attack and stroke. But having low levels of the good cholesterol is not good for heart health either.

In this study people were given a statin drug to lower their LDL counts and about half of them were also given high doses of niacin which has been shown in previous studies to increase good cholesterol. The thinking was that if you keep the bad cholesterol levels low and raise the good cholesterol numbers the result would be fewer heart attacks and strokes. Half of the patients took the statin drug Zocor and the other half  Zocor plus niacin.

"The AIM-HIGH findings do not support the trial's hypothesis that, in the population studied, adding extended release niacin to simvastatin {Zocor} in participants with well-controlled LDL cholesterol can provide additional clinical benefit," said Dr. Jeffrey Probstfield, AIM-HIGH co-principal investigator.

The FDA released this in a statement, "Patients should not stop taking their current medications without talking to their healthcare professional."

The study did find that the levels of good cholesterol increased for patients taking niacin despite the fact that it didn't lower  stroke rates. Researchers suggest that other sicker populations need to be studied.

"This does not say that we wouldn't potentially see benefit in populations that we didn't study. Many patients have far higher LDL levels than encountered in this trial," adds Probstfield.

The scientists will continue to analyze their data and present their findings near the end of the year. An international trial in patients whose cholesterol numbers are less stable than those in the AIM-HIGH trial is still ongoing and may help to provide more answers.

"We will continue to search for new approaches to treating cholesterol problems, it is important to remember the value of existing treatments. The key to treating high cholesterol so patients can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease is to lower the level of LDL cholesterol, through well-established drug treatments such as statins and lifestyle changes," says Dr. Patrice Desvigne-Nickens, NHLBI project office for the AIM-HIGH trial.

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Iva Biggun

    Guess I'm going to save a bit more money by cutting out the niacin now. I'm sure this will change again, but what can you do?

    May 26, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • charles s

      This was a study of niacin AND a statin drug. Niacin by itself will lower LDL and raise HDL. So why use a statin drug and niacin together? The explanation for using both sounds like a justification to use the statin drug no matter if it is needed or not. Why did not the study end with the recommendation to stop using statin drugs? Just use niacin to lower your LDL and raise your HDL. Forget about statins except in the rare cases when niacin does not lower your cholesterol enough with just niacin. Use the heart attack calculator at NLM to see how little changing your cholesterol really affects your chance to have a heart attack by lowering your cholesterol: http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp

      May 26, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Hey Iva. I agree with Charles S. I take non-flush niacin, and it has done wonders for me for many years. I don't understand why the study included taking a statin drug AND niacin. It doesn't make sense, as you should only take the niacin by itself. It's quite possible that the statin diminished the niacin's affect. I have a feeling that this is a fraudulent study designed to make the statin drug look good. The pharmaceutical companies have no interest in promoting niacin, which you can buy cheaply on your own. I started off by seeing a Naturopathic doctor, and she put me on a niacin program where I increased the dosage to the proper level over months. I have blood tests once or twice a year to make sure the niacin is not affecting my liver, and it never has.

      May 28, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • DLG

      to charles and Roscoe. Because Niacin alone makes no money. Why spend millions on a study that will ultimately make no money. "wow it works, niacin alone will raise HDL and lower LDL, lets tell everyone so we can make less money on our statin drug sales".... Not gonna happen

      May 28, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      In response to Charles S, it's because statins actually lower LDL cholesterol the most out of any of the drugs. Yes, Niacin will also reduce it, but at a much lower percentage than statins do. And usually it's more important to get the LDL down to a reasonable level, which is why you want the big gun (statin) first.

      May 28, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
    • Nikon

      Good to see other people have had the same results as I have – I have been taking non-flush niacin for over twenty years...heart disease is in my family, mother dropped dead 12 days after she turned 60 – I was diagnosed with high cholesterol in 1990 – BUT the good cholesterol was quiet high and the bad low but combined they brought it up into the 'high' range. so I asked the doctor, "doesn't it make sense that if my good cholesterol is that high, it's pushing out the bad?" and over-all it's a good thing? It was the first time he puts it in that perspective I guess and said, well that makes sense and you are probably right. I had a thallium heart stress test this year and the arteries are good thanks to healthy eating, exercise and non-flush niacin. Can't imagine why they would test it in conjunction with a stain – that's overkill. They should do a study using just niacin...

      May 28, 2011 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      I have found from the book, "Reverse Heart Disease Now," by Stephen T. Sinatra and James C. Roberts, that taking 500 mg of regular B-3 Niacin (causes slight temporary flushing) with 10 mg of Crestor, following a vegan diet and exercising daily have raised my HDL levels to the mid-40s. For the longest time my HDL levels had been below 40 and at times below 30. I am convinced that for my body flush-free Niacin. I took 3000 – 4000 mg of flush-free Niacin years ago and it DID not raise my HDL levels one bit. When I followed the advice of the authors who wrote, "Reverse Heart Disease Now," I finally experienced positive results!

      May 29, 2011 at 06:39 | Report abuse |
  2. yowsers


    May 26, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. notes

    Kinda scary to think how many people are taking statins and over the counter vitamins like niacin completely unaware they are increasing their risk of stroke....

    May 26, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • b scott

      been taking Crestor and 300mg niacin . First time in years all lipid reading in normal range. Once again it all depends on each individual.

      May 27, 2011 at 09:07 | Report abuse |
    • PharmD

      The study did not look at over the counter vitamins. It looked at Rx Niacin Extended release.

      "Patients should not stop taking their current medications without talking to their healthcare professional."

      May 28, 2011 at 02:12 | Report abuse |
    • jr23

      nothing in the report said it increases stroke it said it did not decrease the incidence of stroke.
      i have used simastatian + 2gram niacin +4 triple strength omega 3 fish oil
      got cholesterol to the correct ratio and my triglycerides which were 577 to under 100 nothing else worked
      on the tris all with the drs overseeing results did push the sugar a few points over 100 and watching carefully.

      January 5, 2013 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah in California

    What a shame that CNN can't afford editors anymore. This story reads like it was written by some high school journalism student.

    May 26, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      The average American reads on about an 8th grade level.

      May 29, 2011 at 06:51 | Report abuse |
  5. iamthefredman

    i aM a hi school jernalizm student ..... Whatsamatterer with dat?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?????!!!!

    May 26, 2011 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Ha-that's about right!

      May 27, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Sarah Palin, is that you again?

      May 28, 2011 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
  6. iceload

    The holy grail of health is slowly evaporating. It's not cholesterol now they say it is the size of LDL.

    May 26, 2011 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momof3

      Yep, particle size is a pretty big deal and just hitting the mainstream. And the interesting thing there is saturated fat increases LDL particle size and ups HDL for lots of folks. Grains and sugar decrease particle size (making it small and sticky) and increase triglyceride levels. Most people have been lead to believe the opposite and our lovely USDA "food pyramid" is a joke.

      May 27, 2011 at 06:52 | Report abuse |
    • DLG

      It's neither HDL or LDL that increase the risk of heart attack. Some believe it's cause by chronic scurvy. It's all very interesting to see how little we really know.

      May 28, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    I took Lipator then Zocar which lowered my LDLs but I had horrible leg cramping. Then I took 1,000mg of Niaspan a day and it did nothing. Thank God I was not taking both at the same time. My LDLs are high and I do not know what to do. I watch what I eat , I exercise, I don't smoke, or drink alcohol and I'm not overweight.

    May 26, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Vicki

      You should be taking Cholest-Off or the generic plant sterol equivalent. I could not tolerate the statin side effects and I have had a mini stroke in the past, but using Cholest-Off or generics and krill oil my lipid profile made my cardiologist smile. My total cholesterol is very low, my LDL is low and my HDL is high! Best of all, no muscle cramps!

      May 27, 2011 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
  8. mikie

    bill, I'm in the same boat. can't take statins (muscle pain) and niacin boosted my blood sugar to unacceptable levels. guess I'm going to die someday

    May 26, 2011 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Boise

      Try including insoluable fiber in your daily diet (Oatbran/flax seed meal). Then work on cutting out all refined carbs flours and sugars. Get yourself a carb counter book w/ a glycemic index and stick to under 50mg net carbs a day. ALWAYS have more protein at a meal than carbs. Exercise at least 30 min per day. Lay off processed meats. Limit the high fat foods, and stick to lean beef, pork, chicken and have good fish twice a week. It isn't a lot of fun, but just think if you have diabetes you get to inject yourself with insulin daily and take blood tests several times a day. If you have kidney failure you are hooked up to a dialysis machine 3x a week. If you have pulmonary problems you carry around an oxygen tank. So what is your choice, fight the problem and live a little longer. Or forget about it, pretend you can do nothing, feel sorry for yourself and die much sooner.

      May 27, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      Hi Mikie and others trying to lower cholesterol/LDLs (and weight, and have a better life!):
      Try a plant based diet (no meat or dairy). It's a change but you'll get used to it. Go to Dr. McDougall's or PCRM's or T. Collin Campbell's websites for information (that is backed by the literature) and support. You'll be so pleased with the results! Good luck.

      May 29, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  9. larry

    I am taking Lipitor and Niaspan...does the danger apply to that Statin combination as well? Guess I ll quit the Niaspan and see what happens? Has anyone asked their MD?

    May 26, 2011 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Boise

      try cutting back on the Lipitor (really evil stuff..it dissolves your heart and liver muscle tissue and then the muscle tissue particles clot your arteries..loads of fun, eh). Take 2 x 100 mg reg niacin (IR) at each meal...it might help to take a baby aspirin about 1/2 hr before the niacin....to keep the hot flashes down. That way you can also cut back on one of your 500mg Niaspan (plus save you $3.00 a day)

      May 27, 2011 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
    • seriously?

      @Bob...where do you get your information. Lipitor does not dissolve your liver and heart and then redeposit it in your arteries...that is complete misinformation. You are going to harm some unsuspecting person that stops his statin based on your comlpete nonsense. Statins have been proven time and time again to reduce the risk of macrovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Statins save lives. The current study this article is referring to (AIM-HIGH) comapred a statin only group to a statin plus niacin group. There is no need for a placebo group – we have known that statins are beneficial for a long time.

      May 27, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    They were apparently taking 1500 to 2000 mg extended release Niacin in the study. That seems like an awful lot. I was only taking 500mg.

    May 26, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Boise

      And most people would take the 3 x500mg pills all at once right before bed, absolutely the worst thing you can do biochemically to your system.

      May 27, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse |
  11. Rey

    The study was done on the type of niacin is the time-released Niaspan. Almost all the studies and reports I've heard and seen stated that you should take the NON-time-released niacin, which is a dietary supplement, unlike Niaspan which is prescribed. Numerous other studies support the non-time released niacin as a benefit to regulate HDL as well as LDL and triglicerides.

    May 26, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Roscoe Chait

      I agree. I was told by a naturopathic doctor to stay away from the time-release niacin, as it can severely affect the liver. I've taken your typical non-flush niacin over many years, and it's done wonders for me. I recently saw a regular Western doctor who suggested that I take a statin instead of niacin, but when I pointed out that my cholesterol is fine because of the niacin, he agreed that I should stay with what works for me. I think the pharmaceutical companies brainwash doctors into thinking drugs are the answer to everything.

      May 28, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    been taking Advicor – a statin with 2000 mg of Niacin to increase HDL after heart attack. Started with statin which lowered LDL but HDL were still low. Wonder what the doctor will say at next visit.

    May 26, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Boise

      Dr. will say lose weight and exercise and stop eating fatty foods. Of course, the dr. being brainwashed by the government will say nothing about high insulin levels and high carb food. The Dr. will also be clueless about glycemic values and direct effects on tri-glycerides. High net Carbs cause the greatest adverse changes in blood lipids, not fats or 'chlorestrol' in foods.

      May 27, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse |
    • Hilary Vignes

      I added 2400 mg of Fish Body Oil to my daily regimen of 25 mg Zocar and 1000 mg Niaspan and my HDL got into the normal range right away. Without the Fish Body Oil it was a struggle to get the HDL above 38 mg/dl.

      May 28, 2011 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    Seems we are missing two other group: (1) those who just took Niacin (w/o a statin) (2) and those who took nothing at all. I'd like to know if just Niacin (especially the immediate release version that I take- not slow-release used in study) has increased risk of stroke. The book, The 8-Week Cholesterol Cure by Robert Kowalski, talks quit a bit about Niacin, but doesn't mention strok

    May 26, 2011 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Roscoe Chait

      I take non-flush niacin, and it has done wonders for me for many years. I don't understand why the study included taking a statin drug AND niacin. It doesn't make sense, as you should only take the niacin by itself. It's quite possible that the statin diminished the niacin's affect. I have a feeling that this is a fraudulent study designed to make the statin drug look good. The pharmaceutical companies have no interest in promoting niacin, which you can buy cheaply on your own. I started off by seeing a Naturopathic doctor, and she put me on a niacin program where I increased the dosage to my proper level (1,500 mg) over months. I have blood tests once or twice a year to make sure the niacin is not affecting my liver, and it never has. The ND doctor also told me to stay away from time-release niacin as it can affect the liver severely.

      May 28, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
  14. Pleth1

    As a rule the dosage of niacin (also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3) required to have an effect for high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) starts at 1g (1000mg) and can be increased to a much larger dose. In general however, most patients do not tolerate more then 2-3g. In fact it seems that the benefits start to wear off nearing the 2g point hence why the study had a 2g end point. Most multi-vitamin supplements rarely have anywhere near this amount of niacin. It is a shame that the delayed release resulted in an increase in mortality and morbidity.

    Word of advice, make sure you speak to your physician and make sure that they would be aware of this trial. Physicians are not gods and may not have received any information nor article yet thus they would be unaware of this possible problem.

    Also as Rey stated, non slow-release niacin still seems to be beneficial. Regardless talk to your physician to see what they think.

    Good luck everyone

    For those asking "and who would this person be?", I am a first year internal medicine resident

    May 26, 2011 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Pumbaa

    It is not good news for the maker of time-released Niaspan. Niaspan is a brand of niacin which, the last time I checked, cost over $200 a month. $200 a month for a vitamin. Give us a break and let it go generic like regular niacin. I take Slo-Niacin which is OTC delayed release niacin but cost about $13.00 a month from Wall-Mart.

    May 26, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob Boise

      Be careful with No flush niacin: inositol hexaniacinate. Studies seem to show that in this form, the niacin does not even get to where it is supposed to help..and thus totally inefficacious. For more information on alternatives to the outrageously expensive Niaspan (a lot of its ad money goes to convince doctors it is the only safe niacin to use), try the Beaverton, Oregon company which puts out Enduracin (Endurance products: [www-endur-com.]). The medical literature which accompanies this medication shows studies which rival the clinical trials of Niaspan in its scientific validity.

      May 27, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The Slo-Niacin is a time-release form of nicotinic acid, that reduces or eliminates flushing...there are several other brands on the market, I take 3x500mg from Sundown along with Provastatin; total cholesterol is 176, LDL is 80, but HDL is low at 29 and I have high triglycerides. Niacin alone didn't bring the total or LDL levels down.

      Trying to use diet to control the triglycerides, but not seeing the HDL going up.

      May 28, 2011 at 02:35 | Report abuse |
  16. grist

    I think an important point to be taken about this study is that vitamins and alternative medications are not necessarily safe or effective. A recent study of coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease clearly demonstrated no benefit. People should wait for good controlled studies (like this one on niaspan) before taking alternative medications or vitamins. Remember, if a vitamin or alternative medication works, then it does so because there is a medication in it (unless you believe in magic!). And if there is a medication in it, then it has potential side effects and interactions with other medications. The problem with alternative medications, then, is that some of them work!

    May 26, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Odessa

    My heart doctor said NO to Niacin. The best of all worlds in relationship to lowering Cholesterol and LDL's, which should be under 100, is to buy yourself a gift book called "The China Study". In five weeks my cholesterol went down 35 points, and my LDL moved from 142 to 121. I have had high cholesterol for most of my life, and medications did not work. While my cholesterol was always higher than 265/285, my HDL's were 85/98. My previous doctor's thought I was in the clear due to such a high HDL; however, that turned out not to be the case. The China Study research is excellent, in essence it declares you should not eat dairy, meat, cheese, chicken, etc, eat only plant foods. My result has been excellent. Stop chasing high protein levels. I look forward to the next five week blood test.

    May 27, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momof3

      Do you know your LDL particle size? Lots of people have "normal" cholesterol levels but have small, sticky LDL vs. fluffy, buoyant LDL. Increased grains and sugar tends to make particle size smaller...aka "pattern B" and increase triglyceride levels (especially in any one with markers of metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance. It would be interesting to see what the China Study does to particle size.

      May 27, 2011 at 06:55 | Report abuse |
    • D

      MY question to you is whether you lost any weight during the time your cholesterol went down. When I first found out I had high cholesterol, I changed my diet, added a lot more fiber, and was almost a vegan. I lost 14 pounds that I *barely* afford to lose and my cholesterol went down some. As I continued on the same diet and maintained my lower weight-the cholesterol bounced back up even higher than it was before. Therefore, the correlation between diet and cholesterol levels in any one individual is not as simple as you might believe. I need to get my particle size checked-I've never had that done.

      May 27, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • John

      A different analysis of the China Study: check out http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/07/the-china-study-fact-or-fallac/

      May 27, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      Great results for you Odessa! A plant based diet is the way to go.

      May 29, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  18. WellnessDrive

    OMEGA III's – are important because it helps our arteries more elastic by reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries - which Helps maintain normal cholesterol levels.

    Very surprised this wasn't mentioned. If you can't always go Nuts over eating healthy foods in Omega III's then get the best - Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E @ WellnessDrive.com

    My Dr even told me to since I reduced my cholesterol back to normal by using the Heart Health System. It really works!

    May 27, 2011 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Hans

    Brilliant! That study was NOTHING new. A certain form of TIMED-RELEASE Niacin had already shown before to have adverse health effects. However REGULAR Niacin worked like a roto-rooter for clogged arteries and was beneficial and worked MUCH better alone than their expensive tablets.

    So what does the Industry do now? They will BAN ALL Niacin in the USA, get the FDA to declare it illegal to sell as vitamin, and push only expensive tablets that can be patented.

    At the same time, let's discredit all healthy eating and vitamins, and heart disease remains patentable and profitable for the health industry.

    May 27, 2011 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Erik

      Great comments.

      May 27, 2011 at 06:07 | Report abuse |
    • Rey

      I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but I'm afraid you're probably right on this one. The drug industry is pretty powerful and most, if not all, of their execs only focus on the bottom line. I hope this never happens, but I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

      May 27, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • Nikon

      So true Hans, the phama companies have too much influence and control over too much. My doctors tried to push me into statins at the first sign of high cholesterol. I pretty much refuse all prescribed drugs on every occasion and I'm in my 62 year and almost as strong, healthy and active as I was when I was 35...only diff is that I get tired, but I'm an urban cyclists, haven't owned a car in 30 years, I walk for hours most days. Without a doubt there are times when pharmaceuticals are necessary and can help – but we owe it to ourselves to question what drugs doctors try to push. Do you really ned a pill so you only go to the bathroom once in 24 hours? Isn't holding urine for long periods of time really bad for your kidneys?

      May 28, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
  20. James

    This disappointment shows that the more we think we know, in reality the less we know. Cardiologists had really put a lot of faith in the promise of Niacin. It will be intesting to see what the further studies reveal. But it certainly puts a damper on the new miracle drug Niacspan.

    May 27, 2011 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Carrie Ruano

    My doctor put me on Sko release Niacin in January, 4 per day. I will not take another one as my blood sugar is 260 or more every day. Went to the lab today was e-mailed back to me this afternoon, all my numbers are sky high.

    May 27, 2011 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Katie

    Zocor plus Niacin? Then why blame the Niacin? How about blaming the combination? I'm not a researcher, but it seems to me that would be the place to start. Is no one studying the use of Niacin alone?

    May 27, 2011 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momof3

      Yes, I'd like to know this as well. I wonder if the original study includes more details.

      May 27, 2011 at 06:56 | Report abuse |
  23. Adrianne

    They should address the negative side effects of statins. Many cannot take any med with statin due to these atrocious side effects – joint pain, liver damage, etc. All statins do is "possibly" lower bad cholesterol. Once a statin drug is discontinued the cholesterol rises. Hmmmm?! Need to find a 'cure' not a band aid

    May 27, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Bob Boise

    I understand that it the side effects of niacin also depend upon the type, the amount and when you take it. It will also depend upon how strong the statin is. IR niacin is a lot safer, albeit hot flashes do occur, and SR niacin needs to be spread throughout the day after morning. Having someone take 3 Niaspan (500mg) right before bed is asking for trouble. A person really needs to stop taking the statin one week out of the month, so the muscle and liver tissue have a chance to cleanse themselves of the chemicals that cause the statin damage.

    May 27, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Bob Boise

    http://www.aimhigh-heart.com/index.html Website under revision..duh! Guess what the niacin of choice was: Niaspan and the test was sponsored by........Abbot Labs makers of Niaspan. Oh well at $3.00 a pill vs 10 cents a pill Enduracin or Rugby 500mg IR niacin, Abbot can afford some more tests to prove how great Niaspan is..and we better keep our formular patented.

    May 27, 2011 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. geraldinaOregon

    Thank you everyone for all your comments. I learned alot from it.

    May 27, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Susan

    I have been taking Niaspan 2000 to try and lower (dangerously) high LP(a), a lesser known serious risk factor. I was proud of myself working through the tough side effects–but my HDL dropped by almost half. Then my liver enzymes went off the charts–liver damage from Niaspan–and I stopped cold turkey, no fun either. It seems the whole research model about lowering the bad chol, raising the good, is called into question by this important study. All my life I had the "perfect cholesterol profile" and let me just say, I'm the heart disease kid. The only diet shown repeatedly to prolong life and reduce atherosclerosis is a low to no-fat vegetarian diet. That's what I'm on. Fun, NO. But death is less fun.

    May 27, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      I even question whether an extremely low fat diet is going to do anything in the long run. My sister knows someone whose cholesterol level was never higher than when he was a vegan. It could vary upon the individual.

      May 27, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  28. Rambo Jr.

    Folks, there is much more to cornary artery disease than HDL and LDL, It would be nice if it were that simple. 20% of people who have heart attacks have ablolutely normal levels, according to my cardiologist. Yes, others who have extremely high levels of LDL have no damage, when viewed internally by a CATH. I look foreward to the day when we are actually smart enough to invent an artery intervention drug that clears our ateries of plaque, and keeps it from returning. You know we are the people who had the will to travel to the moon, and return safely more than once

    May 27, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. dick

    I've been taking Lipitor and 1000mg of Niaspan for several years. I faxed this report to my doctor.
    Don't want to do anything that increases chances of a stroke.

    May 27, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Dan

    I'm waiting for the smart person to step up and admit cholesterol levels (especially LDL) mean squat diddly poo when it comes to heart disease.

    May 28, 2011 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Rambo Jr.

    Hey Dan, yes physicans, in many cases, feel one way or the other for all their patents. Individulalized genetic engineered drugs may be the way to treat the number one killer of women and men. Often, in medicine if something is repeated enough, then it jiust has to be true. You may remember a time when eggs were treated like poison by Cardiologist! Hey thank goodness chickens are still laying eggs and people aren't worried very much about eating them in moderation.

    May 28, 2011 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Dood

    I'm on Simustatin (Zocor) and was on 1500mg of Niaspan. I had to take aspirin for the flushing so that's another pill I don't want to take.

    I ran out of Niaspan and my pharmacy has had trouble getting my prescription refilled so I said screw it. Then this article comes out.

    Hmmm, I think that I'll stick with the simvustatin and hold off on the Niaspan since it looks like it doesn't make a difference. I have the perfect storm of bad cholesterol.....high LDL's, low HDL's and high triglycerides. I did start exercising again but I sure don't feel much better.

    May 28, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Phil

    What is really amazing is how many people, or is that sheeple, take the drugs prescribed by their doctors without doing the slightest bit of research, or even asking why. The medical INDUSTRY has everyone convinced that high cholesterol will kill us all. Please show me the research that proves it!! It doesn't exist. The reason doctors prescribe pills of all kinds is because they receive full paid vacations (read: go to medical conventions in places like hawaii, with their families) from the drug reps. I have two friends that are drug reps that tell me about all the benefits doctors get "under the table". Most of us would be far better off by taking NO PILLS AT ALL!!

    May 28, 2011 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. David

    When I started getting serious about controlling my cholesterol it was in the range of 300+. I started taken Crestor and it brought my numbers down to under 200 total cholesterol, but my cholesterol ratios were all wrong. I was bringing down the good cholesterol faster than I was bringing down the bad cholesterol. So my Doctor started me on Niacin and it started to work when I got into the higher dosages of Niacin. But then I started having these flushing attacks as I like to call it, so severly that it felt like I was set on fire and rolled on a floor full of thumb tacks. I had to jump into ice cold showers to try and control the attacks but the side effects kept getting worse, even when I cut back on the dosages I was taking. It got to the point that I could even take the smallest amount without setting off these flushing attacks. I even tried Slow Niacin and Niaspan but they all caused the same reaction. What a shame because my ratio of good to bad was getting some very good results but I just couldn't take the side effects it caused. So now I am labled allergic to Niacin and my numbers are lousy again. Anyone have any OTC that works well with getting the good cholesterol up again. I also use Flaxseed Oil now but the Doctor keeps suggesting Fish Oil instead. The only problem with that is the burping of fish is a big turn off for me. Plus I swear I smell like fish when I sweat. I feel like I've been battling with these numbers for about 20 years now and I am getting to the point of just saying the hell with it, what ever it is, is what ever it is.

    May 28, 2011 at 23:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rey

      I've been taking 1000mg a day of pure Niacin. I also had the same reaction, but now I've been taking them after dinner. It still occurs, but not as bad. Make sure to take it with a full stomach.

      My ratio has also improved, and the last doctor's appointment my doctor recommended I keep taking it.

      June 1, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
  35. paulc

    A long while ago, I thought I could "combine" the lowering effects by using a statin & niacin. About the best LDL I could achieve was 92-95, not all that good. Two years ago I rad some stuff on the Net about some experiencing bad side effects using these two together. So I dropped the niacin.

    WOW... my LDL dropped to 72-75.

    Far as I'm concerned the two do NOT play well together at all.

    May 29, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Bob The Builder

    If you hump a gopher, it will cut your bad cholesterol in half and help you lose weight.

    May 29, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Kate Middleton

    Niacin assists in the metabolism of the proteins in the synthesis of genetic material, cholesterol and fatty acids, it helps in the process of producing energy, it is necessary for the normal functioning of the brain and helps tissues get rid of toxic waste. In addition also is used in combination with other substances to treat depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia.

    Kate Middleton

    May 30, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tedd

    i RAISED my HDL over 40mg>>>by using flush Niacin(nicotinic acid). not time release! take 3 pills of 500mg at day!...i take statins one day and niacin the next day. I read niacin and statins together is not good for liver.

    October 23, 2011 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Rose

    I am only in my 20's and have had cholesterol readings 200+ for about a decade. I am afraid to start statins because of muscle damage. I have "flushing" similar to David- much more severe than is advertised. An aspirin just prevents the chills for me. But taking an aspirin every day for the rest of my life? I'm not ready for a heart attack or ulcer; I'm not even old enough to run for governor.

    January 16, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. jhalston

    I do not agree
    Sincerely, Jackeline

    August 27, 2017 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. A Mich

    Fraudulent study. There are many write ups showing scientific evidence of niacin's extraordinary beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, psychological health and other things. Niacin is cheap and readily available, and this is extraordinary effective so the mainstream doesn't like it. They want you to stay sick and enslave.

    October 21, 2018 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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