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Blood Pressure Drugs at Bedtime May Cut Heart Risk

Study Suggests Benefits to Taking Blood Pressure Drugs Before Going to Sleep
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Bedtime Dosing of Blood Pressure Medicine

Those who took at least one blood pressure medicine at bedtime had lower nighttime blood pressure while asleep. They were also more likely to have overall good control of their blood pressure.

The bedtime group was one-third as likely to have heart and blood vessel problems such as heart attack, stroke, or heart failure, the researchers found.

Improved overnight blood pressure with bedtime dosing had a real benefit. Each 5-point drop in sleep-time blood pressure was linked with a 14% reduction in risk for heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

"Cardiovascular event rates in patients with hypertension can be reduced by more than 50% with a zero-cost strategy of administering blood pressure-lowering medications at bedtime rather than in the morning," Hermida says in a news release.

Why Blood Pressure Drugs Work Best at Bedtime

Hermida tells WebMD that some of the body's blood pressure control systems are most active while we sleep. So medicines designed to control those systems work better when taken close to the time when the systems are activated most fully.

The study results ''make absolute sense to me," says Robert Graham, MD, MPH, an internist and director of residency research at Lenox Hill Hospital. Graham, an assistant professor of medicine at New York University, reviewed the study findings for WebMD.

''Certain medications have the greatest effect on the body while we sleep," he says. Indeed, bedtime dosing of blood pressure medications recently has been a hot topic among experts.

Graham has been prescribing blood pressure medicines to be taken at bedtime for years, he says, as it seems to help with the top side effects of blood pressure medicine: fatigue and drowsiness.

"If you do have high blood pressure, and have a hard time getting it [down to your] goal, maybe you should talk with your doctor about changing the time [you take the medicine]," he says.

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