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Taking Blood Pressure Meds at Bedtime May Be Better
Date:10/24/2011

MONDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- For the millions of Americans on blood pressure-lowering drugs, a new study suggests that taking the pills at bedtime may be best.

It was known that taking blood pressure medications at different times of the day can affect patients' blood pressure patterns, but the impact on health wasn't known.

The new Spanish study included 661 patients with chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Half of them took their prescribed blood pressure-lowering drugs at bedtime and half took their medications first thing in the morning.

After an average follow-up of 5.4 years, the researchers found that patients who took at least one blood pressure-lowering drug at bedtime had better control of their blood pressure and were about one-third as likely to suffer a heart-related event such as heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

The team at the University of Vigo also found that sleep-time blood pressure provided a much more accurate measure of heart health than wake-time blood pressure.

The study was published online Oct. 24 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

"Our results indicate that cardiovascular event rates in patients with hypertension can be reduced by more than 50 percent with a zero-cost strategy of administering blood pressure-lowering medications at bedtime rather than in the morning," study author Ramon Hermida wrote in a journal news release.

One U.S. doctor said taking advantage of "chronotherapy" -- timing drug delivery to a patient's biorhythms -- might have real value.

"Physicians don't commonly specify which time of day patients should take their medications; however, most patients with hypertension take their antihypertensive drugs in the morning. Upon taking these medications, patients oftentimes complain of side effects, most commonly, fatigue and drowsiness," noted Dr. Robert Graham, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New Yo
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