Niacin had better results in slowing down the progression of atherosclerosis than ezetimibe, or Zetia, in the ARBITER 6-HALTS trial, according to Peggy Peck, Executive Editor of MedPage Today.
Niacin as we are most familiar with it, is Vitamin B3. The niacin used for the trial was extended-release niacin or Niaspan.
Dr. Allen J. Taylor of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, principal investigator of the trial, observed that niacin did a better job on the artery wall, and was the clear preference for add-on therapy.
"Although ezetimibe significantly reduced LDL by 19.2%, to an average of 66 mg/dL, the 'greater reductions in LDL cholesterol level in association with ezetimibe were significantly associated with an increase in carotid intima-media thickness,' according to a post hoc analysis conducted by Taylor and colleagues."
Niacin was also less likely to precipitate cardiac problems than ezetimibe.
Dr. W. Douglas Weaver, past president of the American College of Cardiology deemed niacin to be "an effective, but underutilized drug."