NIH stops study of niacin to prevent heart attacks

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NIH stops study of niacin to prevent heart attacks

Postby jimithy » Sun May 29, 2011 10:41 pm

A very large (3400 people) long term study of Niaspan (time release Niacin... a B Vitamin) being done by the National Institute of Health (NIH) has been halted 1.5 years before it was supposed to end because of 2 problems.

1. Even though it increased good cholesterol (HDL) as it was designed to do... it did not reduce heart problems.
2. The people taking Niaspan had a slight increase in the incidence of strokes.

The NIH has been studying various drugs over the last few years to determine whether the Pharm companies' clinical trials that are designed to get their drugs approved... actually show that taking their pills create ANY health benefits (or whether the benefits outweigh the risks).

I usually only hear about the studies that show a drug is ineffective or dangerous, but still, various drug companies are coming out with egg on their faces. Abbott Laboratories makes Niaspan and their stock has taken a dive because of yet another problem with their cholesterol drugs.

This NIH study used patients already taking a statin (which is any drug whose generic name ends in "statin") to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but the patients still had low HDL (the good cholesterol). We've been told by the medical community for a while that everyone should lower their LDL and raise their HDL in order to reduce heart problems. Well the very expensive Niaspan did raise their HDL but it did nothing to reduce heart problems. Also, there was a slight increase in the number of strokes by the people taking Niaspan.

There are a number of cheap time release Niacin tablets widely available (such as Slo-Niacin). I have said for years that people waste their money buying Niaspan (which currently sells for about $5 per 1000mg Niacin tablet) when they could be using something like Slo-Niacin (which currently sells for about 33 cents for 1000mg of time-release Niacin... other brands sell 1000mg of time-release Niacin for 15 cents or less). I use plain old Niacin and save even more.

Now it appears that even the little I pay to raise my HDL may be too much.

Here are a couple of good stories about this NIH study.

NIH stops study of niacin to prevent heart attacks (The Associated Press) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 9ce118de6e

Combination Cholesterol Drugs Show No Added Heart Benefits (ABC World News Tonight) http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartDisea ... d=13705116
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