Blood Pressure Meds at Night

Rachel Nania with AARP posted an interesting article of the advantage of taking your blood pressure medications at night. By switching your pill routine to include taking your blood pressure med at night could reduce your risk of heart disease and even death.

In the report, the researchers studied more than 19,000 adults with high blood pressure over an average of more than six-year. They found those who took medication at bedtime to lower their pressure cuts their risk of suffering, or even dying, from a heart attack, or even other cardiovascular events by nearly half. This was in comparison with those who took their blood pressure pills in the morning.

John Osborne is a cardiologist in Dallas as well as a volunteer expert for the American Heart Association that calls these findings practice-changing. This is a no-cost, zero-risk and zero side effect intervention that could be done tomorrow in every clinic. Osborne is not affiliated with the study and published in the European Heart Journal that just changing to evening dosing could translate to substantial reductions across the whole realm of cardiovascular events.

Our blood pressure normally dips at night and rises again in the morning. By afternoon it starts to go down again. This is a natural rhythm and daily pattern that helps to explain why taking medicine to lower blood pressure may work best when done at night.

Your rise in blood pressure is better targeted in the morning. By taking your blood pressure med in the morning it may already be after the peak, then the peak of the drug is hitting a few hours later, after the peak of blood pressure. The participants taking all of their blood pressure pills at night lower their risk for heart attack by 34%, stroke by 49% and risk for heart failure by 42%. This was in comparison to those who took their medicine in the morning. The risk of death from heart or blood vessel problems was cut by more than 50% for those taking their pills at night.

The chairman of the department of cardiology at MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute and professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center is Allen Taylor. Taylor said the study is almost too good to be true in terms of the size of the benefit. He does need to see further confirmation before switching all of his patients’ medication schedules from morning to in the evening, especially if the change will make them forget to take their pills altogether.

His goal is to make sure that people take their medicines as conveniently as possible, so if nighttime is more convenient, then they should.

Dr Fredda Branyon