If lifestyle changes like eating a low fat diet and exercising regularly to lower triglycerides do not work, then medications in treating high triglycerides is indicated.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are fats that circulate in the blood and are stored in the cells as energy. Triglyceride levels that are above 150 mg/dL are considered as high, and this increases the risk of a person for heart disease. Higher levels of triglyceride are also liked with diabetes, hypothyroidism, obesity and use of birth control pills.
Niacin or Nicotinic Acid To Treat High Triglycerides
What is Niacin? Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3, is an organic compound which is one of the essential nutrients needed by the body. Niacin used in treating triglycerides is different from over the counter drugs like Vitamin B complex since it has no effect in treating cholesterol levels.
Niacin is known under the brand name of Niacor. The sustained release form is known as Sio-Niacinwhile the extended release form is known as Niaspan.
How does Niacin works? Niacin lowers LDL or the bad cholesterol by 25 to 55% and the triglycerides by 20% to 50% and it effectively raises HDL or the good cholesterol by 15% to 35%. However, high doses of niacin are required for an effective result. It is not clear on how Niacin works to lower bad cholesterol levels but it could be that Niacin helps in preventing the liver from producing LDL and triglycerides. Niacin could also help in reducing the production of proteins that help in transporting cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
What can be the side effects of Niacin? Side effects of niacin include hot flushes, gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting, indigestion and diarrhea.
Necessary cautions are needed when taking Niacin.Niacin should not be used by those who are experiencing peptic ulcer, liver disease or bleeding disorders.
Statins to treat high triglycerides
How can statins help in lowering triglyceride levels? Statins are a kind of drug which is used to lower cholesterol. This drug acts to reduce triglyceride levels by inhibiting the emission of an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which is responsible for the production of cholesterol in the liver.
Since the liver produces more cholesterol at night, statins are more effective when taken at night. Statins are available under the brand names of Lescol, Zocor and Lipitor.
Side effects of statins are unusual but include, skin rash, headaches, inability to sleep and altered sleeping pattern, and also gastrointestinal upset can occur. High levels of statins can cause toxic effects such as intense fatigue, weakness and cardiac problems.
Avoid grapefruit juice when taking statins since grapefruit juice disables an enzyme in the liver for metabolizing statins. As a result, statins build up in the blood and can cause statin toxicity. Also, avoid alcohol while on statins since alcohol will only aggravate this problem.
When taking medications in treating high triglycerides, kidney and liver function tests have to be done periodically when taking statins and niacin.
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