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    Old 07-13-2005, 02:01 PM   #1
    babydog
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    Experiences with Niacin

    Hi Everybody,

    Looks like I have given up the ship. My doctor has given me a prescription for Niacin which I began today. I will have my numbers checked again in 3 months.

    Here are the current numbers:
    TC 227
    HDL 54 (down from 64!)
    LDL 164 (up from 148!)
    Trigs 65 (down from 76 - but so what)

    I am 49. Also going thru menopause. I think menopause is affecting my numbers right now despite my best efforts with diet.
    I have to admit I have been a little remiss with exercise except for walking and housework.

    Has anyone had a positive result from Niacin?
    I am taking Niaspan 500mg 2x a day.

    Best wishes to all my cholesterol fighting friends.

     
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    Old 07-13-2005, 02:23 PM   #2
    swtevnbrz
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    I tried niaspan and I had very bad flushing . Made me want to scream. Did your doctor tell you to take an aspirin before the niaspan by about 2 - 3 hours? That seems to help with the flushing, they say. I had to stop it. I have tried all different types of statins and they don't agree with me too well. I am just trying to keep my numbers down by vegetarian diet and I have lost weight.

    Good luck with the Niaspan.

    Lori

     
    Old 07-13-2005, 04:25 PM   #3
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Hi Babydog,

    You don't have to start right off taking that much niacin, do you? Yikes!! I would start with a really small dose and work your way up gradually. I think that will help a lot! (hopefully) I remember the first time I blithely popped a 500mg "time-release" niacin. In 10 minutes, I looked like a tomato (so much for time released).

    Why not give the aspirin trick a shot as well, if you can tolerate aspirin. Don't want to be uncomfortable if you can possibly avoid it! (oh boy, we're having a heat wave here in CA and the very thought of a niacin flush right now is giving me the vapors)

    By th by, regarding the exercise, don't beat yourself up too much over this. I exercise like a demon every day and it didn't do a darned thing for my HDL. Wish I had the source handy to cite, but I recently read a study that showed exercise has little effect on HDL, UNLESS the person has metabolic syndrome. Those people get a HUGE benefit from exercise, including a hefty HDL boost. With your low triglycerides, I'm guessing you don't fall into that category (which is good!) Not that I'm saying we shouldn't all exercise, of course we should, it's just that some of us aren't going to get that much-touted HDL boost from it. You're probably right about the menopause connection! At least that will end though...someday (don't you wish there were an "OFF" switch you could flip on that whole deal? *sigh*)

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

     
    Old 07-13-2005, 04:35 PM   #4
    babydog
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wintergarden
    Hi Babydog,

    You don't have to start right off taking that much niacin, do you? Yikes!! I would start with a really small dose and work your way up gradually. I think that will help a lot! (hopefully) I remember the first time I blithely popped a 500mg "time-release" niacin. In 10 minutes, I looked like a tomato (so much for time released).

    Why not give the aspirin trick a shot as well, if you can tolerate aspirin. Don't want to be uncomfortable if you can possibly avoid it! (oh boy, we're having a heat wave here in CA and the very thought of a niacin flush right now is giving me the vapors)

    By th by, regarding the exercise, don't beat yourself up too much over this. I exercise like a demon every day and it didn't do a darned thing for my HDL. Wish I had the source handy to cite, but I recently read a study that showed exercise has little effect on HDL, UNLESS the person has metabolic syndrome. Those people get a HUGE benefit from exercise, including a hefty HDL boost. With your low triglycerides, I'm guessing you don't fall into that category (which is good!) Not that I'm saying we shouldn't all exercise, of course we should, it's just that some of us aren't going to get that much-touted HDL boost from it. You're probably right about the menopause connection! At least that will end though...someday (don't you wish there were an "OFF" switch you could flip on that whole deal? *sigh*)

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
    Hello Wintergarden,
    Wow, you are right! The doc prescribed this 2x a day. I think I should be taking half as much to start with. I went to the website and it says people usually start on 500mg to start and build up gradually.
    I am going to call my doctor tomorrow. I called the pharmacist and he said it would be fine to just take the 500mg until I speak to the doctor. I don't think I will die if I just take half for the next day or so.

    Thanks so much for your reply!.

     
    Old 07-13-2005, 07:19 PM   #5
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    OMG, I sure wouldn't have wanted to try it with 500mg twice a day right off! I'm taking an OTC sustained-release niacin. The company that makes it recommended starting out with only 250 mg and taking it with meals, then building up from there. Doing it that way, I had only minor flushing the first week, and none thereafter. I am now taking 750 mg, in a divided dose, 250mg 3x daily with meals. I know most people on Niaspan seem to take it at bedtime. That would never work for me, as I am a very light sleeper, and having "night sweats" from the niacin would wake me up for sure. The meals buffer the flush effect, and at least it is in the daytime. Maybe now that I've been taking it for a year, I could handle it, but I doubt that I could have at first.

    I've had good results with my niacin. My TC went from 247 to 190, before I did my little egg experiment where I was eating two eggs a day. Then, of course, it went back up again. But HDL went up with the LDL, so I'm not going to get too worried about it.

     
    Old 07-13-2005, 10:01 PM   #6
    HubbleRules
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Uff-Da!
    I've had good results with my niacin. My TC went from 247 to 190, before I did my little egg experiment where I was eating two eggs a day. Then, of course, it went back up again. But HDL went up with the LDL, so I'm not going to get too worried about it.
    Uff-Da!,

    Do you attribute your TC drop mostly to the Niacin?

    HubbleRules

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 05:16 AM   #7
    Lenin
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    babydog,

    Niaspan, being a time-release, or extended release or long acting(whatever silly term they use to make it sound SPECIAL and justify charging $1.50 a pill, $3 a day for something costing pennies in a Heath Foods Store) is kinder than any immediate release niacin, but a slow start is STILL a good idea. A runaway extended flush is something truly unbearable, among life's worst agonies. At least short term (week or two) maybe cracking the pills in half is a good idea.

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 05:42 AM   #8
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lenin
    At least short term (week or two) maybe cracking the pills in half is a good idea.
    Are you sure about that? Isn't Niaspan a coated pill? I know my Enduracin has a wax matrix coating, and I had the impression that cutting it in half would be like trying to split a capsule - you'd end up making an immediate release out of it.

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 06:15 AM   #9
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HubbleRules
    Uff-Da!, Do you attribute your TC drop mostly to the Niacin?
    The majority of it, I think, was due to the niacin. I'd had a fairly good diet before, but there were some further dietary changes after I had that 247 reading. (My highest reading ever was 275, so I'd brought it down to 247 with diet alone.) Between the 247 and 190 readings I had further increased the fiber in my diet. I tried to eat 3-6 oat bran biscuits a day plus have a serving of legumes. (I was probably getting 3-4 servings of legumes/week previously and no oat bran.) On days I didn't get that much fiber in those foods, I'd take a glass or two of psyllium (Metamucil) in water. I increased my fruits and vegetables servings per day from approximately six to approximately eight per day. I decreased my egg yolk consumption from about three or four per week to zero. Plus I took two Pantethine pills daily. But I still think the major drop in TC was from the niacin.

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 01:39 PM   #10
    babydog
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lenin
    babydog,

    Niaspan, being a time-release, or extended release or long acting(whatever silly term they use to make it sound SPECIAL and justify charging $1.50 a pill, $3 a day for something costing pennies in a Heath Foods Store) is kinder than any immediate release niacin, but a slow start is STILL a good idea. A runaway extended flush is something truly unbearable, among life's worst agonies. At least short term (week or two) maybe cracking the pills in half is a good idea.
    Lennin,

    So after all is said and done, this actually is just a megadose of the B vitamin niacin?? If I were to pick up time release niacin from health food store in say 250mg capsules, it would work just the same? I thought I was saving some money by getting it thru my insurance.
    Thanks

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 02:06 PM   #11
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    That's right babydog, It is niacin, aka nicotinic acid, in a matrix made to deliver the drug in a "medium" amount of time...4 to 6 hours or some such. The quick release causes a fast flush and is done...the extended release, which presumably takes longer to release than niaspan is harder on the liver.
    To my way of thinking, Niaspan is really a time-release formulation and should have very similar cautions relative the liver as the time release versions in the Health Food stores.
    Probably the same Liver enzyme tests should be run for niaspan as for statins.
    From the manufacturer:
    Quote:
    Liver Dysfunction
    Cases of severe hepatic toxicity, including fulminant hepatic necrosis, have occurred in
    patients who have substituted sustained-release (modified-release, timed-release) niacin
    products for immediate-release (crystalline) niacin at equivalent doses.
    Thus more care should be taken with Niaspan than plain vanilla niacin.

    Uff-da,
    You COULD be right but the enteric coatings usually are made to pass through the acidic stomach, and dissolve in the alkaline small intestine. They are usually used for drugs that are damaged by acid. Niacin doesn't fall into this category.
    Of course if the coating IS an intrinsic part of the Niaspan delivery system, then it shouldn't be broken.

    OK I read the manufacturer's site closely: DON'T break it, KOS Pharmaceuticals recommends against it!

    Last edited by Lenin; 07-14-2005 at 02:12 PM.

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 03:25 PM   #12
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    My husband's dr. wanted to put him on Niaspan, but did tell him he would need the same periodic tests as a statin. This is what I found on Niaspan:

    Special warnings about this medication

    Niaspan is an extended-released form of niacin. It is not interchangeable with immediate-release or sustained-release forms of niacin.

    Niaspan can cause problems if your liver is weak. Before you start taking this medication, your doctor may order a blood test to check your liver. Blood tests will probably be repeated 6 and 12 weeks after you start taking Niaspan and periodically after that. While you are taking Niaspan, your doctor will monitor you very closely if you have ever had liver disease or if you are or have ever been a heavy drinker.

    Do not drink alcohol or hot beverages with Niaspan because they may intensify the flushing and itching effect of the medication.

    Niaspan should be used with caution if you have diabetes, a heart condition, or problems with gout. If you have diabetes, tell your doctor if you have a change in blood sugar levels while taking Niaspan. Also use Niaspan with caution if you have kidney problems.

    Before undergoing surgery, make sure the doctor is aware that you are taking Niaspan. This medication tends to slow the clotting process, and could prolong bleeding.

    To reduce the chance of side effects, Niaspan therapy is usually started at a low dosage and gradually increased. If you stop taking Niaspan for an extended period, contact your doctor. You'll probably need to build up to your old dose over a period of several months.

    Tell your doctor if you experience any dizziness while taking Niaspan.
    **************************************** *************

    It also says to start at about 500 mgs. at night after a small fatty snack, and if your dr. wants to increase your dose, it still should be taken ONLY once a day, at bedtime. To me, it seems like it is just a more expensive extended release form of Niacin.......

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 05:04 PM   #13
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JJ
    It also says to start at about 500 mgs. at night after a small fatty snack, and if your dr. wants to increase your dose, it still should be taken ONLY once a day, at bedtime.
    I'd be curious to know WHY it should be taken only once a day at bedtime. Sounds like a good way to get big-time night sweats to me. If there really is a reason for it, then I'd say that's a good reason to take an OTC product that can be taken with meals instead. (The fact that my Enduracin is costing me less than five dollars a month is another one for me!)

    BTW, if you decide to consider an OTC sustained-release product instead, some are safer than others with regard to liver toxicity. There is information about the clinical studies done at Harvard and U of Minn of the Endurance Products website, so I felt fairly comfortable with their version. There may be other sustained-release products out there as good, but I'd like to see their research on it before I considered a switch.

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 05:18 PM   #14
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Uff-Da!
    I'd be curious to know WHY it should be taken only once a day at bedtime. Sounds like a good way to get big-time night sweats to me. If there really is a reason for it, then I'd say that's a good reason to take an OTC product that can be taken with meals instead. (The fact that my Enduracin is costing me less than five dollars a month is another one for me!)

    BTW, if you decide to consider an OTC sustained-release product instead, some are safer than others with regard to liver toxicity. There is information about the clinical studies done at Harvard and U of Minn of the Endurance Products website, so I felt fairly comfortable with their version. There may be other sustained-release products out there as good, but I'd like to see their research on it before I considered a switch.
    I just took this tonight and I am as red as a lobster!! My husband says it will go away but my whole body is red and tingly. I don't think I'm going to like this.

     
    Old 07-14-2005, 05:48 PM   #15
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    Re: Experiences with Niacin

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Uff-Da!
    I'd be curious to know WHY it should be taken only once a day at bedtime. Sounds like a good way to get big-time night sweats to me. If there really is a reason for it, then I'd say that's a good reason to take an OTC product that can be taken with meals instead. (The fact that my Enduracin is costing me less than five dollars a month is another one for me!)

    BTW, if you decide to consider an OTC sustained-release product instead, some are safer than others with regard to liver toxicity. There is information about the clinical studies done at Harvard and U of Minn of the Endurance Products website, so I felt fairly comfortable with their version. There may be other sustained-release products out there as good, but I'd like to see their research on it before I considered a switch.
    Maybe they figure it won't bother U at nite??? I have NO idea, as my hubby never took it. He said he had his fill of statins and side effects and was in no mood for anything else to aggravate him.

    I tried the stinking 100 mgs. and look what happened to me. I was really annoyed, as I figured that amount shouldn't have any affect. Oh well, guess I have a really weird system.... Stayed on it for over a week, but it never got any better, then I stopped it for a week and tried going back, and it just did the same thing, I itched like a fool for hrs. Somedays I just QUIT!!

     
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