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Niaspan Side Effects

written by: angiem1981•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 4/5/2011

Niaspan side effects are typically rare and mild. However, major side effects can occur and certain groups may be at higher risk.

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    Niaspan, also known as Niacin, is a drug used to treat cholesterol when proper diet and exercise alone is not adequate. Available by prescription only, this drug is typically used in combination with other cholesterol lowering drugs and may provide many benefits to the patient. Like any other medication, Niaspan side effects will vary by the individual. While some of these may only be mild, some can be potentially dangerous and should be monitored closely.

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    Most Common Niaspan Side Effects

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    Flushing of the skin is the most widely reported among individuals who take Niaspan. Those who take this drug also report nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, statistics indicate that this occurs in less than 15% of all patients. The majority of these side effects will be mild and are not systemic. Pruritis, rash, and increased cough can also be associated with this and similar drugs but are not typical. According to these particular studies, these adverse effects were more common among women than men. The patient should keep in mind that certain health conditions and other medications may also cause other adverse reactions or increase the severity of the milder effects.

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    Other Adverse Effects of Niaspan

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    Severe Niaspan side effects are uncommon and may include rhabdomyolysis, or break down of muscle fibers. Liver functioning can also be affected, resulting in malfunction and/or necrosis. Reduction in blood platelet count, increased blood clotting time, and increased blood glucose levels can also occur. Allergic reaction to the drug is potentially rare, but has been reported in a limited amount of cases. In addition to this, taking Niaspan may alter the results of specific lab tests. This includes liver and blood glucose tests.

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    Risk Factors Associated With Niaspan Side Effects

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    Certain risk groups are more likely to suffer from serious conditions or reactions from taking this drug. Individuals that have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, or suffer from certain types of angina may be at greater risk. Even though Niaspan is commonly prescribed with other cholesterol affecting drugs, this can also increase risk of side effect incidence. The effects on women who are pregnant or nursing are not known and it may be recommended that Niaspan therapy should be stopped.

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    RxList Online. 2009 November, 19.