Niaspan® is a prescription medication that is used along with dietary changes to help lower the amount of cholesterol and other fatty substances from the blood. Some of the more common Niaspan® side effects include headache, dizziness, and digestive disorders. Most Niaspan® side effects are relatively minor, and most patients are able to continue taking the medication. Some of the more serious potential Niaspan® side effects that should be reported to a doctor right away include chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and irregular heartbeat.
Dizziness and headache are among the most commonly reported Niaspan® side effects, although these symptoms sometimes go away after the patient has been taking the medication for a while. Mild digestive disturbances have also been reported. These may include nausea, vomiting, or heartburn. In some cases, additional medications may need to be prescribed to ease these uncomfortable side effects.
Itching and tingling are common Niaspan® side effects. Some patients have also reported periodic feelings of skin warmth, also known as flushing. Temporary episodes of skin redness may also occur when taking this medication. An unexplained cough may also be attributed to the use of this medication and often stops once the patient is no longer taking the medication.
Some Niaspan® side effects can potentially be serious and should be reported to a doctor right away. These side effects include black, tarry stools or blood in the stool. A doctor should also be consulted if visual changes such as blurry or clouded vision develop. Dark-colored urine or a decrease in urine output could indicate kidney damage and should be reported right away. The development of an irregular heartbeat or fainting should prompt an immediate visit to the doctor.
Muscle pain and other flu-like symptoms have been reported as potential Niaspan® side effects. Muscle weakness and fatigue may also be present. Unusual bleeding or bruising sometimes occur when taking Niaspan®. Other possible side effects include a sudden swelling of the legs, hands, or feet. A doctor should be notified if any of these symptoms develop.
Additional Niaspan® side effects that could constitute a medical emergency include difficulty breathing or swelling, particularly swelling of the face, tongue, or throat. These symptoms, especially if accompanied by an itchy rash or hives, could indicate a severe allergic reaction. This type of allergic reaction can be quickly fatal if not treated immediately. Severe abdominal pain, especially if accompanied by the vomiting of blood or a substance that strongly resembles coffee grounds, should also be considered a medical emergency.