A new study has found that people who are under medication for hypertension can achieve better control of it if they take their daily dose at bedtime.
This finding throws into question the usual way in which most people with hypertension take their blood pressure drugs, whether singly or in combination, first thing in the morning upon arising.
"The morning surge in blood pressure is known to raise a person's risk for adverse myocardial events, such as a heart attack or a stroke, in the first few hours after he or she awakens," commented lead author Ping Zhao, Ph.D., a research librarian at Sichaun University in China.
The researchers evaluated the results of 21 randomized controlled trials of at least three weeks duration that cumulatively involved 1,993 patients with primary hypertension.
They found that the results add to evidence that morning consumption of blood pressure medications means that the full effects take hold during midday, with lesser effects at night and in the early morning, while bedtime consumption of the drugs leads to the greatest effects during the nighttime and the early morning.
"I think most doctors just write 'daily' on the prescriptions and don't even think about the timing,' said Luci Belnick, MD, an internal medicine specialist.
She added that it makes no sense for people with hypertension to take their medications early in the morning, which is when many people take them.
The study has been published in The Cochrane Library.