Question: Can Nicotinic acid cause permanent liver damage? Should people with liver problems avoid nicotinic acid? Does one require a prescription to take nicotinic acid?
Nicotinic Acid and Liver Damage
Usually nicotinic acid does not cause permanent liver damage. The changes in liver function are of moderate degree and usually last for a few weeks. But sometimes people should discontinue nicotinic acid if they have a severe reaction. Even after discontinuing, their livers take two to three months to recover. Occasionally people start taking nicotinic acid again and have no problems with it.But they have to be monitored carefully. Liver problems are however not reported for acipimox.
People with a history of stomach or intestinal ulcers should use nicotinic acid with caution and it is generally not prescribed for people with severe or unexplained liver problems. People having active ulcer should avoid it. The same is true for nicotinic acid derivative acipimox.
Nicotinic acid is not recommended for individuals who tend to have gout attacks because it can increase blood levels of uric acid and bring on an attack of gout. When blood levels of uric acid elevate during an attack, some of it crystallizes in joints and causes acute pain.And in diabetic patients it can make their blood sugar levels harder to control, and so if they are taking the drug they should be carefully monitored.
Nicotinic acid can be obtained in chemist shops without any prescription. But one can take large amounts of nicotinic acid strictly under medical prescription because of the side effects. If one needs to take a drug in this category, then a prescription of acipimox is the best.