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Review article| Volume 1, ISSUE 4, P248-255, August 2007

Revisiting niacin: reviewing the evidence

      Abstract

      Atherogenic dyslipidemia, defined by a cluster of lipoprotein abnormalities, including low high−density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and elevated serum triglycerides, represents an important potential target for reducing cardiovascular risk. This has paved the way for revisiting niacin as a therapy in preventing progression of atherosclerosis. Niacin remains the safest and most effective agent for raising HDL-C and is a logical choice to target atherogenic dyslipidemia. While the clinical efficacy of niacin has been known for many years, it is only with development of newer formulations, which have lower side-effect profiles and improved compliance, that the potential for this agent been fully realized. In this review, we will examine some of the reasons that niacin can have important implications for reducing progression of atherosclerosis. We will first examine the different formulations and their variability, not only in side-effect profiles, but also in clinical efficacy. We will then consider the theoretical evidence for the benefit of HDL-raising produced by niacin on atherosclerotic progression. Finally, we will review clinical data suggesting the benefit of niacin on cardiovascular outcomes.

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