Niacin is a medication that is used to treat high cholesterol in combination with healthy diet and lifestyle changes. Niacin can also help increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good cholesterol” in your blood. Niacin is most often prescribed to patients who have had a heart attack and needed to reduce their cholesterol levels to avoid another heart attack. Niacin is also prescribed to prevent worsening of atherosclerosis, or the build of fatty cells in the blood vessels, and to triglycerides in patients at risk for the pancreatic disease.  Niacin is a B-complex vitamin and can also be used to treat people with a niacin deficiency. The price of Niacin varies depending on the dose. A month’s supply of niacin 500mg is about $53, a month’s supply of niacin 750mg costs about $74, and a month of niacin 1000mg costs about $225. If your doctor has prescribed you a higher strength dose of niacin, your medication will be expensive. You can save on the cost of niacin using a Optum Perks coupon. Use the Optum Perks website to compare niacin prices at your local pharmacies. Then simply download, print and present your niacin coupon to your pharmacist. Make saving even easier by using a Optum Perks discount card or have coupons sent directly to your phone by email or text message.

Niacin is a B-complex vitamin. Alternative uses for niacin include treating a deficiency in vitamin B due to a poor diet. Niacin is primarily used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides in patients who are at risk for heart attack and pancreatic disease. 

Niacin is sold primarily in the form of extended-release tablets. These tablets are available at 500mg, 750mg, and 1000mg strength. Depending on your doctor’s instructions, these tablets should be taken one to three times per day with low-fat meals or snacks. The tablets should be swallowed whole without chewing or crushing them.

You should continue to take niacin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking niacin without instructions from your physician. 

Tell your doctor about all other medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking. Be sure to mention if you are taking blood thinners, diabetes medication or insulin, high blood pressure medications, or other nutritional supplements that contain Niacin.

If you are taking a bile acid-binding resin such as colestipol or cholestyramine, leave at least six hours between niacin and the other medication.

If you have surgery, tell your doctor or dentist you are taking niacin.

Talk to your doctor about drinking alcohol and how this may worsen the side effects of Niacin.

Niacin usually causes flushing in the face, neck, chest, or back during the first few weeks, but this will go away. To lessen this effect, avoid drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods. Taking aspirin may reduce the flushing. If you take extended-release Niacin before bed and wake up feeling flushed, get up slowly to avoid dizziness or fainting.

Side effects of niacin may include diarrhea or increased coughing.

If you experience the following, call your physician immediately: dizziness or faintness, nausea or vomiting, fast heartbeat, extreme tiredness, unusual bleeding or bruising, dark colored urine, light colored stool, pain in the upper right abdomen, symptoms of allergic reaction, yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This may not be a complete list of warnings and side effects. Talk to your doctor for more information. 

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