Take this medication by mouth with a low-fat meal or snack as directed by your doctor, usually 1-3 times daily. Taking niacin on an empty stomach increases side effects (such as flushing, upset stomach). Follow all directions on the product package. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Niacin is available in different formulations (such as immediate and sustained release). Do not switch between strengths, brands, or forms of niacin. Severe liver problems may occur.
Swallow extended-release capsules whole. Do not crush or chew extended-release capsules or tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
To lessen the chance of side effects such as flushing, avoid alcohol, hot beverages, and eating spicy foods near the time you take niacin. Taking a plain (non-enteric coated, 325 milligram) aspirin or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as ibuprofen, 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before taking niacin may help prevent flushing. Ask your doctor if this treatment is right for you.
If you also take certain other drugs to lower cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take niacin at least 4 to 6 hours before or after taking these medications. These products interact with niacin, preventing its full absorption. Continue to take other medications to lower your cholesterol as directed by your doctor.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If you are taking this for lipid problems, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose to reduce your risk of side effects. Your dose will need to be increased slowly even if you are already taking niacin and are being switched from another niacin product to this product. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Do not stop taking this medicine unless instructed by your doctor. If you stop taking niacin, you may need to return to your original dose and gradually increase it again. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for instructions on restarting your dose if you have not taken your medication for several days.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise.
If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.