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Blood Pressure Pills More Effective When Taken at Night
Date:10/5/2010

, the MAPEC study shows that taking medication at night is the best way to control daytime BP levels.

The study also highlighted the importance of knowing a patient's sleep-time blood pressure readings. While most hypertension patients can attest to the fact that their BP reading is normally taken during a daytime clinic, not knowing what a patient's blood pressure is doing over the entire 24-hour period - and crucially, what the sleep-time readings register - is like playing Russian roulette.

"Historically, medical professionals have operated on the assumption that sleep-time blood pressure levels will drop by 10-20% from daytime levels. However, for many patients - called non-dippers - this doesn't happen and sleep-time therefore becomes a high risk period," says Dr Francesco Portaluppi of the Hypertension Center at the University Hospital of Ferrara in Italy and lead author of the perspectives article on the MAPEC study.

More than 70 million people in the US alone have hypertension. Millions suffer heart attacks and strokes every year. Imagine if those CVD episodes could be cut by almost two thirds. Professor Hermida and his team are convinced there is no time to lose.

"This study was the first to conclusively find that the time of day when medications are ingested not only affects efficacy but also CVD risk and these findings must fundamentally change the way patients are treated worldwide," continues Dr Portaluppi.

Dr Hermida, Dr Portaluppi and the team of experts who analysed the study results conclude that a number of steps should be taken urgently in order to best utilise the findings and save lives.

First, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring should be the proper means of differentiating the needs of BP patients and the only means of categorising patients as non-dippers in the 24-hour pattern. It is also the best means of confirming that treatment goals of BP control are
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SOURCE Chronobiology International
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