By: Radha McLean
A recent study shows that taking extended-release niacin, a vitamin known to lower cholesterol, helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease without affecting sugar levels in the body.
Research conducted by Kos Pharmaceuticals Inc., the maker of Niaspan—a once-daily niacin formulation—was presented on March 19 at the 50th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology. According to Kos Pharmaceuticals, results of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center study showed that taking the supplement helped control several types of cholesterol in the body.
One hundred and forty eight patients with dyslipidemia (disease in the lipids) or abnormal lipid levels were chosen for the trial. In a double-blinded study at 20 different locations, they received either 1,000 or 1,500 milligrams of either Niaspan or a placebo.
After six weeks of treatment, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol, increased by 24 percent for patients taking 1,500 milli-grams of Niaspan. HDL levels rose 20 percent for those taking 1,000 milligrams and four percent for those taking a placebo. Triglyceride went down 29 percent for those on the 1,500-milligram dose of the drug and 15 percent for those on the 1,000-milligram dose.
Researchers also note the important fact that the patients’ HbA1c levels were not significantly affected by the treatment.
Scott M. Grundy, MD, PhD, professor of Internal Medicine and Biochemistry and director for University of Texas Southwestern’s Center of Human Nutrition, states, “Use of extended-release niacin in the proper doses can provide a great deal of benefit in safely altering the lipid profile of those with diabetes.”
Due to the fact that approximately half of the patients studied were already taking an anti-cholesterol drug, investigators also conclude that people with higher-than-normal lipid levels may want to take extended-release niacin in combination with an anti-cholesterol drug to treat the problem.
In an interview with Diabetes Health, Keith Campbell, RpH, CDE, professor of pharmacology at Washington State University, stated that patients should use niacin under the direction of a physician.