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“Niacin’s Serious Risks Revealed”

Niacin is a type of vitamin (B3), which has long been sold over the counter and in higher prescription doses. So, it is a dietary supplement and not classified as a drug. More than 700,000 monthly prescriptions for “niacin drugs” are written in the U.S., totaling $900 million yearly.  The top brand is Niaspan.  Millions of people take it alone or with statin medicines (cholesterol lowering drugs) such as Lipitor for cholesterol problems.  Niacin was introduced in the 1950s and the drug hadn’t been scientifically tested until recently; but, it was a billion-dollar drug which never really had the evidence to warrant billion-dollar status.  It is also used to treat hyperlipidemias and allegedly lowers “bad LDL” and raises “good HDL.”  A common side effect has been a bothersome flushing of the skin and an unpleasant sensation of warmth and itching.

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