Niacin is prescribed because it has been thought to boost levels of HDL or "good" cholesterol, with doctors targeting a specific HDL number.
Now cardiologists are reversing course on treatment.
"Just looking at a number is not as good as looking at the whole patient, understanding their risk and using our best evidence-based treatments," said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
A large study of more than 25,000 heart disease patients shows that when paired with a cholesterol-lowering statin, Niacin does nothing to reduce heart attacks and strokes.
More of a worry to patients is that it may be linked to troubling health problems like infections, diabetes complications and early death.
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