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Nicotinic Acids: Uses, Common Brands, and Safety Info

Nicotinic acids are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Common brands include Niaspan® and Slo-Niacin®. They can have side effects, so medical supervision is important.

Nicotinic Acids

Nicotinic acids are a class of drugs that belong to the family of B vitamins and are known for their lipid-lowering properties. These medications work by reducing the production of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body, effectively lowering the levels of these substances in the blood. By doing so, nicotinic acids can help improve overall cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease.


Nicotinic acids are primarily used in the treatment of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They can be prescribed either as monotherapy or in combination with other lipid-lowering agents, such as statins, to achieve optimal results in managing lipid abnormalities.

In addition to their lipid-modifying effects, nicotinic acids have also shown potential benefits in other conditions. They may help increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), commonly known as "good cholesterol," which can further contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Nicotinic acids have also been explored for their potential role in reducing inflammation and improving glycemic control in patients with diabetes.

Common Brands

There are several common brands available for nicotinic acids, with each brand often having different formulations and doses. Some commonly prescribed brands include:

  • Niaspan®: This brand contains the extended-release form of niacin, a type of nicotinic acid. It is commonly prescribed to manage high cholesterol levels.

  • Slo-Niacin®: This brand provides a sustained-release form of niacin and is also used to treat lipid abnormalities.

  • Nicotinic Acid ER: This extended-release formulation of nicotinic acid is available in generic form and may be prescribed as an alternative to brand-name medications.


While nicotinic acids can be highly effective in managing lipid abnormalities, they are not without potential risks and side effects. It is important to use these medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional and to closely monitor their effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Common side effects of nicotinic acids include flushing, itching, and gastrointestinal disturbances. These effects are often dose-dependent and may improve over time or with modified dosing.

It is crucial to note that nicotinic acids may interact with other medications and medical conditions. Therefore, it is essential to inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and pre-existing medical conditions before starting nicotinic acids. They may recommend dose adjustments or alternative treatments if necessary.

In conclusion, nicotinic acids are a class of drugs used primarily in the treatment of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They work by reducing the production of cholesterol and triglycerides, thereby improving cardiovascular health. Common brands include Niaspan®, Slo-Niacin®, and Nicotinic Acid ER. While generally safe, nicotinic acids can have side effects, and it is important to use them under medical supervision. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information about the use and safety of nicotinic acids.

List of Nicotinic Acids