The cholesterol-lowering drugs containing the B vitamin Niacin and the prescription version Niaspan are intended to lower “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol. However, in two recent studies, doctors are warning individuals that the use of the popular medication can cause serious adverse side effects that might outweigh the benefits of the drug.
Over 70 million Americans have unhealthy cholesterol levels. The study showed that the use of niacin tripled from the years 2002 through 2009, including almost 700,000 prescriptions prescribed per month to patients.
While niacin can lower low density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol, studies show that it did not seem to decrease the rates of stroke, heart attacks, chest pain; instead, niacin use can cause a 32 percent increase of getting diabetes, as well as causing stomach ulcers, bleeding, and other gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal issues. In addition to the other serious side effects, individuals who took niacin were at a greater risk for developing more serious infections.
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