According to a study that appeared in the European Heart Journal, and according to the related press release that presents it, people with hypertension who take antihypertensive drugs before going to sleep seem to have better blood pressure control and therefore lower risks of death or diseases caused by heart problems, compared to people taking drugs in the morning.
The researchers analyzed data from 19,084 patients who had to take a pill to treat hypertension in the morning or at bedtime. These people were followed on average for six years and their blood pressure was checked at least once a year. The researchers found that patients who took the drugs before bedtime showed a risk of nearly half (45%) of death or heart attacks, strokes, heart failure or conditions that require a procedure to unblock the restricted blood vessels ( coronary revascularization), compared to patients who took the pills after waking up. The researchers also considered various other factors including gender, age, possible occurrences of other conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease and cholesterol.
According to Ramón C. Hermida, director of the bioengineering and chronobiology laboratories of the University of Vigo and one of the authors of the study, currently the guidelines for taking antihypertensive drugs do not mention the preferable time of day in which to take the intake. Sometimes doctors advise taking medications in the morning but according to the researcher, it would be a recommendation based on a misleading goal, that of reducing the typical blood pressure levels in the morning.
According to the researchers behind this study, however, it is a person’s average systolic blood pressure when he is asleep that is the most significant and independent indication of cardiovascular disease risk. Also, there are no studies that would show that treating high blood pressure during the morning reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“The results of this study show that patients who habitually take their antihypertensive drugs at bedtime, as opposed to when they wake up, have better blood pressure and, above all, a significantly reduced risk of death or heart disease and problems with blood vessels,” the researchers report.