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Eckel said it’s “really hard to envision exactly what’s going to happen in physicians’ offices” in coming weeks as they discuss niacin with patients. The NIH urged people not to stop high-dose niacin without consulting a doctor.

Nor do the findings end hope that raising HDL eventually will pan out, Eckel said. While two other drugs have failed as well, he is closely watching some much stronger HDL-boosters, including a Merck & Co. drug named anacetrapib, that are under development.



Background on niacin: