Niaspan or generic Niacin Extended Release is a lipid metabolism regulator that contains Niacin, a B vitamin that your body needs to convert the energy found in proteins, fats, and carbs from your diet into forms that your body’s cells use. Niacin is also known as nicotinic acid, which is the reason your doctor may prescribe Niaspan for you if you are battling high cholesterol. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
Our bodies need cholesterol to carry our several functions, including making our cell membranes stronger, composing bile salts to help with the digestion of our food, and to serve as a precursor to our steroid hormones. If your diet consists of too many saturated fats and oils, trans fats, fatty meats, and a lot of dairy products, chances are you are at risk for high cholesterol and a number of health problems.
When taken as directed, Niaspan decreases the production of triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) by your liver. VLDL is then converted into low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is referred to as your bad cholesterol. As the LDL is reduced, your high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are increased. HDL is known as your good cholesterol.
Niaspan has been designed to release Niacin gradually into your digestive tract to prevent any sudden spikes of Niacin in your bloodstream. Niaspan is not a cure for high cholesterol, but it can help lower your bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of atherosclerosis which can interfere with the blood flow to your heart.
Your good cholesterol (HDL) is primarily in charge of transporting cholesterol from various organs and tissues to your liver where it is recycled or degraded. This helps to clear excess cholesterol from your blood.
The bad cholesterol (LDL) is lighter than HDL and is responsible for carrying cholesterol from your liver to other organs and tissues. Because they transport cholesterol back to your liver, they can linger around in your blood and be part of the reason for your blood vessels to become blocked.
The very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) are considered the very bad cholesterol and can also have damaging effects on your circulatory system. By changing your eating habits, being more active, and giving up smoking, you can help Niaspan take you out of the danger zone more effectively and you’ll feel much better for it.
Ask your doctor if there are risks to taking Niaspan while you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breast feeding. Discuss other medical conditions and allergies you have and list any OTC or Rx medications you are on, including herbal remedies and vitamin or dietary supplements. This will help your doctor determine if Niaspan is the right medicine for you.
Until you know how Niaspan will affect you, avoid driving or performing any tasks that are considered unsafe if you are not alert. Take Niaspan with a cold or cool drink of water to decrease the chance of flushing if taken with a hot beverage or alcohol. If you are to undergo any urine tests, tell the doctor or lab personnel that you are taking Niaspan or Niacin Extended Release.