Niaspan has been withdrawn

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Yes Niaspan has been withdrawn in Europe by Abbott Laboratories Ltd not because of any problems with the medication but solely on commercial grounds. They were not making enough money, and yet it is the only alternative if you can't take statins. This goes against the Company's ethos as stated on their web site.

My Doctor was not aware that Niaspan had been withdrawn. It is still listed in the books that Doctors use.

So the alternative is Tredaptive which costs a lot more. So some doctors may not want to prescribe it if cost/budgets is an issue for them.

It is all about money now not about people!

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    I was a user of Niaspan too and had to switch to the only alternative, Tredaptive. That has now been discontinued as well.


    There are no altenatives.

    It all about money, it is a disgrace.

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  • Posted

    Tredaptive was withdrawn back in January because trial data showed that in combination therapy with simvastatin it showed no additional benefit such as reducing heart attacks and stroke to justify its use. This is ultimately the reason why such drugs are prescribed - to reduce the likelihood of suffering from such cardiovascular conditions. In addition significantly more serious side effects were noted with tredaptive compared to simvastatin. Granted not everyone will suffer the side effects but the risk/benefit balance was viewed in favour of withdrawing treatment.
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  • Posted

    Also, I very much doubt the decision to withdraw the drug was a financial one - prescriptions roughly cost the NHS about £400,000 in 2011, a tiny proportion of the overall drug budget.

    Tarun (hospital pharmacist)

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  • Posted


    I should expand on my problem. I have a family history of heart attacks. My total cholesterol has always been below 5.0 mmol/L. I suffered a heart attack 5years ago. Fortunately my specialist consultant diagnosed, that using statins alone, I still had a high Lipoprotein (a) count .60 g/L (the marker level is .30 g/L). This is a very sticky fat which just clogs the arteries. Niacin in combination with a low dose statin, firstly using Niaspan reduced my Lipoprotein (a) down to .28 g/L and then using Tredaptive down to just .18g/L. Niaspan and Tredaptive have no doubt saved my life.

    There are only 50000 Tredaptive users worldwide.

    The THRIVE trial you mention took a sample from the millions of statin users to see if a combination of statin + Tredaptive was better than statin alone. Most users were affected by the flushing itching effect and discontinued. The combination use hoped for by Merck of a block buster drug did not materialise and Merck jumped at the to discontinue this low volume tablet.

    Niacin(aka Niaspan and Tredaptive) have an important role in treating hereditary heart disease from high lipoprotein (a) and high triglycerides. There should be a trial from the 50000 Tredaptive user base to prove it's effectiveness.

    I have had my lifeline taken away. There are no other alternative drugs available.

    Comments from any (ex) Niaspan and Tredaptive users please!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Tarun,

    my case is nearly the same as yours! I had the same development, only Tredaptive resulted in the low Lp(a). I have a strong family history of strokes, heart attacks, angina pectoris and early death (after long suffering under disability).

    Since this year there is no medication availabele in Europe (I had 2000mg Tredaptive).

    Under Tredaptive I had no side effect, the liver readings where all good.

    Now I am not protected against these lifethretening conditions anymore!

    Niaspan and Tredaptive MUST return to us again.


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  • Posted

    Hi Mey

    Yes your case is similar to mine - there are no alternative replacement drugs to Niaspan and Tredaptive.

    My understanding is that Niaspan is still widely available in the USA and Canada with substantial million $ sales - so how come is it is not viable to distribute it in Europe - perhaps Abott or Abbvie could answer that.

    Merck also has a lot to answer for in withdrawing Tredaptive.

    Come on - Niacin and Tredaptive users- there has got to be more than two of us out there.


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