While many believe niacin may increase good cholesterol and reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke, a new study found that niacin may increase other serious risks.
The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine observed 25,000 heart disease patients and found that niacin may increase their risk of diabetes, aches, bleeding and death.
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"For every 200 patients we treat with niacin, it’s possible that we may be causing one excess death related to the drug," cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones said. "And that for me, level of toxicity, that’s just not acceptable."
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Niacin is available in prescription form and over the counter.
"The fact that you can buy it over the counter doesn’t mean that it’s something you should go do without discussing it with your physician," said Dr. David Frid, of the Cleveland Clinic.
The study was conducted by MERCK, a pharmaceutical company that manufactures a statin.