Nicotinic Acids Drug Class

Nicotinic acids belong to the vitamin B complex family and are mostly found in foods such as milk, meat, and wheat germ. Its deficiency in the body causes pellagra. Nicotinic acids are great for boosting one’s metabolism treat symptoms of niacin deficiencies such as confusion, diarrhea, peeling skin, pellagra and tongue swelling.

Nicotinic Acids Drugs

The following drugs fall under the class of Nicotinic Acids:

  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B3

Nicotinic Acids Uses

Nicotinic acid is used to treat conditions that are brought about by a niacin deficiency. Such conditions are like confusion, diarrhea, peeling skin, pellagra and tongue swelling. Furthermore, it boosts a patient’s metabolism by increasing the body’s ability to break down nutrients.

It is mostly used to lower blood cholesterol, especially after prescription medication has had no effect. In such cases, the dosage is much higher when it comes to lowering blood cholesterol as opposed to when it is used as a dietary supplement or to treat other conditions.

Additionally, nicotinic acid is used to slow down the progression of artery disease. It can be taken together with a light meal or snack, as taking it on an empty stomach will lead to side effects such as nausea. Nicotinic acid is also to be taken as prescribed by the doctor. The dosage depends on the condition it is meant to be treating.

Nicotinic Acids Side Effects

The side effects a patient may experience while using nicotinic acid may depend on whether it was extended release or immediate release. A patient using an immediate release type of nicotinic acid may experience:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pains
  • Dark urine
  • Yellow skin

Other side effects are less severe and are less common:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Headaches
  • Runny nose
  • Flushed skin
  • Rash

Other side effects may be experienced when a patient is on a particularly high dose of nicotinic acid:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pains
  • Swollen feet
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Itchy skin

These side effects can also be experienced when the patient switches between nicotinic acid formulations. Some formulations are stronger than others and need to be released over a certain period.

Patients can also reduce the effects and occurrences of the side effects mentioned above by avoiding to take nicotinic acid with spicy foods, alcohol, and hot drinks. These foods will only serve to release the nicotinic acid all at once, which then leads to the numerous side effects as mentioned above. It is also for this reason that patients are advised to swallow their nicotinic acid pills whole instead of crushing them into powder or splitting them into half, unless indicated by the doctor.

Some doctors would recommend that a patient takes plain aspirin at least half an hour before he/she takes the nicotinic acid. This will help reduce flushing.

Nicotinic Acids Interactions

There are several other drugs that nicotinic acid is known to interact with. Some of them are:

These are just a few of the different medication that nicotinic acid is seen to interact with. If a patient needs to take any of the drugs mentioned above, then he/she needs to take the nicotinic acid 4-6 hours before or after the other medication.