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Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.



COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Nicobid, Nicolar, Slo-Niacin


Niacin (nicotinic acid) is used to prevent and treat niacin deficiency. It is also used to improve cholesterol and lower fat levels (triglycerides) in the blood.

How To Use

Take this medication as directed. Follow any special dietary recommendations made by your doctor or nutritionist while taking this medication. Take this medication with food to prevent stomach upset. Timed-release capsules or tablets must be swallowed whole. Do not crush or chew them or the long action may be destroyed and side effects increased. If you are prescribed bile acid resin drugs (e.g., colestipol, cholestyramine) separate the dose from niacin by 6 hours or more.

Side Effects

This medication may cause flushing and a feeling of warmth about the face and neck within the first two hours of taking a dose. Itching, tingling, or headache may occur as well. These effects should subside as your body adjusts to the medication. Stomach upset, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Report promptly any of these effects if they persist or worsen. Unlikely but report promptly: vision problems, dark urine, stomach (abdominal) pain, yellowing eyes or skin, irregular heartbeat, black stools, increased urination, muscle aches/pains. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms include: rash, swelling, dizziness, fainting, trouble breathing. To minimize the flushing effect (redness, itch) take a plain (not enteric-coated) 325 mg aspirin tablet (or other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen) 30 minutes before each niacin dose. After a few weeks, this flushing effect should stop occurring, or decrease in intensity. Also, avoid alcohol or hot beverages near the time of the niacin dose. Consult your doctor or pharmacist. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


Tell your doctor your entire medical history, including: diabetes, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, gallbladder disease, gout, ulcers, any allergies - including aspirin and tartrazine (a dye in some food and medication, including niacin). To minimize dizziness or lightheadedness when rising from a seated or lying position, get up slowly. Since alcohol can intensify drug side effects, ask your doctor or pharmacist about the use of alcohol. If niacin is used for treating a lipid (high cholesterol or triglyceride) problem, then it should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Doses for lipid problems are generally much higher than daily multivitamin doses (minimum daily allowance). Niacin is excreted into breast milk. If niacin is being used for lipid problems, breast-feeding is not recommended due to possible infant side effects. Consult your doctor before you breast-feed.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking especially: high blood pressure medication, diabetes medicine, fibrates (e.g., gemfibrozil, fenofibrate), "statins" (e.g., lovastatin, atorvastatin). If you take insulin or oral diabetes medication, your dose may need to be altered due to increased blood sugar levels caused by niacin. Ask your doctor. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.


Niacin is common in foods such as beans, milk products, eggs, chicken and steak. Eat more of these foods to increase the amount of niacin in your diet if you have a niacin deficiency. There are many niacin products available. Some can be purchased without a prescription. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on the choice of a product best for you. Laboratory tests will be performed (especially if prescribed for cholesterol/triglyceride control) to monitor for effectiveness and possible side effects. Do not allow anyone else to take this medication.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as remembered but not if it is almost time for the next dose. If close to time of next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double-up the dose to catch up. If you stop taking this for one week or more, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking it again.


Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (between 15 and 30 degrees C) away from moisture and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze liquid forms of this medication.