Niacin, commonly known as vitamin B3, is used by a significant number of Americans to treat cholesterol problem as well as it is widely used for maintenance of general health.
Some people take it alone or with statin medicines such as Lipitor as a part of cholesterol treatment.
The side effect of Niacin has always been flushing.
According to two new studies, it doesn’t help in treating heart problem anymore. The results were published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.
One of the two studies suggests that "for every 200 people that we treat with niacin, there is one excess death," plus higher rates of bleeding, infections and other problems -- "a completely unacceptable level" of harm. Niacin should not be used routinely in clinical practice at all," said Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University in Chicago.
Even after the initial report, more than 700,000 prescriptions for various niacin drugs were given ever month in U.S. The top brand is Niaspan made $900 million in sales in U.S. alone in 2013, sources confirmed.
The result showed while taking the drug Tredaptive, a combination of Niacin and an anti-flushing medicine caused a 9 percentage increase in the risk of death amongst 26,000 users.
The drug is also responsible for “higher risks of gastrointestinal and muscle problems, infections and bleeding. More diabetics on the drug lost control of their blood sugar, and there were more new cases of diabetes among niacin users.”
Following this outcome, doctors were asked not to prescribe this drug anymore in many countries.
After this the effect of Niaspan was also investigate thoroughly.
And the report says apart from causing increased rate of infection, there is also higher rate of serious bleeding associated with Niaspan.
Experts feel every patient should consult their doctor to find out other forms of available treatment most suitable for them than being on Niacin.