niacin (nicotinic acid) (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking niacin ?
Do not take this medication if you are allergic to niacin, or if you have severe liver disease, a stomach ulcer, or active bleeding.
Before taking niacin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use niacin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.
FDA pregnancy category C. Niacin may be harmful to an unborn baby when the medication is taken at doses to treat high cholesterol or other conditions. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
Niacin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take niacin ?
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Niacin is sometimes taken at bedtime with a low-fat snack. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Niacin can cause certain side effects, such as flushing (warmth, itching, redness, or tingly feeling under your skin). These effects can be made worse if you drink alcohol or hot beverages shortly after you take niacin. These effects should disappear over time as you keep taking the medication.
Take niacin with a full glass of cold or cool water. Taking the medication with a hot drink may increase your risk of side effects such as flushing.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
Niacin extended-release tablets and capsules contain higher strengths of the medicine than the regular niacin tablets. Take only the dose that is correct for the type of niacin tablet or capsule you are using.
Niacin can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests (urine tests). Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using niacin.
If you stop taking niacin for any length of time, talk with your doctor before starting the medication again. You may need to restart the medication at a lower dose.
Niacin is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, and other medications. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Store niacin at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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