Niaspan ER extended release works by reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Niaspan contains niacin, also called nicotinic acid, a B vitamin (vitamin B3). It occurs naturally in plants and animals and is present in many multiple vitamin supplements.
Niaspan ER is used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat) in the blood. It is also used to lower the risk of heart attack in people with high cholesterol who have already had a heart attack. It is sometimes used to treat coronary artery disease (also called atherosclerosis).
You should not take Niaspan ER if you are allergic to niacin, or if you have severe liver disease, a stomach ulcer, or active bleeding.
To make sure you can safely take Niaspan ER, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
- liver or kidney disease;
- heart disease or uncontrolled angina (chest pain);
- a stomach ulcer;
- gout; or
- a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis.
FDA pregnancy category C. Niaspan ER may be harmful to an unborn baby when the medication is taken at doses to treat high cholesterol or other conditions. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Niacin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Niaspan ER: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- feeling like you might pass out;
- fast, pounding, or uneven heart beats;
- feeling short of breath;
- jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes); or
- muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness with fever or flu symptoms and dark colored urine.
If you are diabetic, tell your doctor about any changes in your blood sugar levels.
Less serious Niaspan ER side effects include:
- mild dizziness;
- warmth, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin;
- itching, dry skin;
- sweating or chills;
- nausea, diarrhea, belching, gas;
- muscle pain, leg cramps; or
- sleep problems (insomnia).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.