American Journal of Kidney Diseases

Niacin and Progression of CKD

  • Elani Streja
    Address correspondence to Elani Streja, MPH, PhD, Harold Simmons Center for Kidney Disease Research & Epidemiology, Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, UC Irvine Medical Center, 101 The City Dr, City Tower, Ste 424, Orange, CA 92868.
    Harold Simmons Center for Kidney Disease Research and Epidemiology, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of California Irvine Medical Center, Orange, CA
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  • Csaba P. Kovesdy
    Nephrology Section, Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Memphis, TN

    Division of Nephrology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
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  • Dan A. Streja
    Infosphere Clinical Research, West Hills, CA

    Providence Medical Group, West Hills, CA
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  • Hamid Moradi
    Harold Simmons Center for Kidney Disease Research and Epidemiology, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of California Irvine Medical Center, Orange, CA
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  • Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh
    Harold Simmons Center for Kidney Disease Research and Epidemiology, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of California Irvine Medical Center, Orange, CA

    Department of Medicine, UC Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, CA
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  • Moti L. Kashyap
    Moti L. Kashyap, MD, MSc, Atherosclerosis Research Center, Long Beach Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, 5901 E 7th St, Long Beach, CA 90822.
    Department of Medicine, UC Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, CA

    Atherosclerosis Research Center, Long Beach Veteran Affairs Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA
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Published:February 21, 2015DOI:
      Niacin is the oldest drug available for the treatment of dyslipidemia. It has been studied extensively and tested in clinical trials of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease prevention and regression in the general population, but not specifically in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), who are at extremely high residual risk despite current therapy. Despite the current controversy about recent trials with niacin, including their limitations, there may be a place for this agent in select patients with CKD with dyslipidemia. Niacin has a favorable unique impact on factors affecting the rate of glomerular filtration rate decline, including high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particle number and function, triglyceride levels, oxidant stress, inflammation and endothelial function, and lowering of serum phosphorus levels by reducing dietary phosphorus absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. These effects may slow glomerular filtration rate decline and ultimately improve CKD outcomes and prevent cardiovascular risk. This review presents the clinically relevant concept that niacin holds significant potential as a renoprotective therapeutic agent. In addition, this review concludes that clinical investigations to assess the effect of niacin (in addition to aggressive low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering) on reduction of cardiovascular events in patients with CKD with very low HDL cholesterol (or those with identified dysfunctional HDL) and elevated triglyceride levels need to be considered seriously to address the high residual risk in this population.

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