Niaspan, the prolonged release preparation of nicotinic acid (niacin), the broad-spectrum lipid drug

Int J Clin Pract. 2004 Jul;58(7):706-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1368-5031.2004.00233.x.


Niacin (nicotinic acid) is the broad-spectrum lipid drug, which lowers the concentration of all atherogenic plasma lipids/lipoproteins and at the same time raises the levels of the protective HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Niaspan is a prolonged release (PR) formulation of niacin, which has considerable advantages over both immediate release (IR) and slow release (SR) formulations of this drug. The major early side effect of IR niacin, the flush, is reduced with Niaspan. The hepatotoxic effects with SR niacin are not present with Niaspan. It is suitable for once daily prescription at bedtime. Niaspan is effective as monotherapy and in combination with other lipid-lowering drugs such as statins and fibrates. It is particularly useful for treatment of the dyslipidaemia of type 2 diabetes, where IR but not PR niacin may deteriorate the diabetic condition. Overall, niacin, now available as the well-tolerable drug formulation Niaspan, is the unique broad-spectrum lipid drug for the prevention and treatment of clinical atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Male
  • Niacin / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Niacin